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Thread: Scottish Club Borders Reivers to close

  1. #1
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    Scottish Club Borders Reivers to close

    It's been over a decade since its introduction, but the Scots continue to struggle with the concept of professional rugby.

    The latest setback is news that the Borders Reivers will close at the end of the season, in an attempt from the union to re-direct funds to the Glasgow Warriors. The future of the Borders has been in doubt for some time, with the national union struggling to cope with a huge 23 million pound debt.

    The SRU board has been reviewing the situation for some months now, but said in a statement: "In the context of its significant bank debt, to maintain pro team rugby in Scotland in any meaningful way, it could not provide long term support to both its existing teams, Border Reivers and Glasgow Warriors, in their present form."

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    What has happened? It's a bloody shame!

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    TEF, am I reading it right that that means there will be only one Pro Scottish team left?
    I thought there were at least three last year?

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    Veteran Contributor The EnForcer's Avatar
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    Two, Edinburgh and Glasgow....I'm a bit confused as to what's happening because a year ago there were suggestions that 4th team was going to be started up.

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    From the Scottish website:

    On 27 March Scottish Rugby announced the outcome of its review into professional rugby in Scotland. This stated that the Scottish Rugby Board decided to provide additional funding and support to its Glasgow Warriors pro team as a direct consequence of the Board’s decision to close the Border Reivers at the end of the current season.

    The Board accepted that it did not specifically consult Edinburgh Rugby Ltd (who now own the Edinburgh pro team) regarding its review, as Scottish Rugby was examining the future of its two remaining pro teams and not the Edinburgh team, which it no longer owned.

    Scottish Rugby was therefore most surprised to hear of ERL’s concern that it was not consulted about the review as Scottish Rugby believes that how it manages its own pro teams is entirely a matter for the SRU.

    The contract signed by both parties in July 2006 does not require Scottish Rugby to consult with ERL. In addition, there was never any commitment given to ERL in relation to the number of pro teams in Scotland, when the Carruthers consortium bought the former Edinburgh Gunners team.

    Furthermore, Scottish Rugby has confirmed that the closure of the Border Reivers will not have any impact on the contractual arrangements between Scottish Rugby and ERL.

    Yesterday Bob Carruthers alleged in the Edinburgh Evening News that his consortium had offered to buy the Border Reivers pro team from Scottish Rugby in October 2006. This was communicated to Scottish Rugby on 6 October and Scottish Rugby gave its detailed response on 9 October. The SRU Bye Laws and IRB regulations do not permit this to happen. Both the SRU and IRB have specific regulatory rules in this respect, thus ensuring that the “one person, one team” rule is enforced.

    The Scottish Rugby Board does not have the power to grant a request for control of more than one club to be held by one person. There are no exceptions to this rule.

    The Scottish Rugby Board would not be able to grant such permission and in order to change this it would take a resolution, approved by two thirds of the member clubs in a general meeting.

    In the unlikely event that member clubs were to approve this, the Scottish Rugby Board would then have to consider the implications of IRB Regulation 14. This states that the Union(s) involved must give written consent before any individual corporate body or partnership may own more than one club. For competition reasons all relevant unions that would be affected by such a sale (i.e, those in the Celtic League and ERC - Scotland, Wales, Ireland, England, France and Italy) would be required to give consent.

    At the time, in declining to progress the enquiry further, Scottish Rugby also believed that Bob Carruthers’ proposal to buy the Border Reivers, coming as it did just 13 weeks after he had bought Edinburgh Rugby, lacked credibility and that it made more sense to allow Mr Carruthers’ consortium time to deliver their vision for Edinburgh Rugby and the associated concerts business, known as Murrayfield Sport and Leisure.

    From the the Border Reivers website:

    Scottish Rugby has completed its wide ranging review of pro team rugby and confirmed its commitment to maintain professional rugby in Scotland.

    The Scottish Rugby Board has decided to provide additional funding to its Glasgow Warriors pro team to enable it to strengthen and increase the squad size and invest in improved facilities.

    This will be made possible by the Board’s decision to close the Border Reivers at the end of this season, which will result in a number of Reivers players transferring to the Warriors.

    The Board recognised that, unlike other northern hemisphere nations, professional rugby in Scotland has struggled since the sport turned professional in 1995. In that period, Scottish Rugby has invested around £30 million in its various pro teams, yet the concept of pro team rugby in Scotland has never fully taken off.

    The Board was however united in its belief that if Scotland is to continue to aspire to maintain its status as a top ten international rugby nation, (Scotland is currently ranked tenth in the world) then pro team rugby in Scotland supporting the Scotland national squad, is essential.

    In carrying out its review, the Board examined levels of investment, pro team numbers and locations, training and playing facilities, squad sizes, relationships with and participation in the Heineken Cup and Magners League, third party investors and academies.

    It assessed the current condition of pro team rugby in Scotland in the context of its vision for the future. The Board considers the following to be factors that make for successful professional rugby:

    - A quality playing squad of at least 35 full time professionals able to be competitive all season, including during Scotland international Test periods
    The funding ability to recruit and retain top players
    - Good training and support facilities
    - Maintaining an Academy structure which takes part in regular back-up games
    - A modern, seated and covered stadium of 6,000-10,000 capacity in or close to a large population, with public access, parking and hospitality facilities
    - A good match day atmosphere, attractive to a TV broadcaster
    - Strong commercial growth potential

    The Board decided that, in the context of its significant bank debt, to maintain pro team rugby in Scotland in any meaningful way, it could not provide long term support to both its existing teams, Border Reivers and Glasgow Warriors, in their present form.

    It recognised that the funding available for these two teams has been spread too thinly, resulting in them, to a greater or lesser extent, struggling to improve their standing in the Magners League and especially the Heineken Cup. Hence today’s decision to concentrate resources in one team, Glasgow Warriors.

    Allan Munro, Chairman of the Scottish Rugby Board said, “It was quite clear that we could not continue as we were and something had to be done if we were to maintain and improve professional rugby in Scotland.

    “The decision to close the Borders pro team has not been an easy one, as we recognise the contribution our Borders players and coaches have made and their real determination to succeed against the odds. But we believe the Reivers closure and strengthening Glasgow Warriors will go some way to improving high performance rugby in Scotland.”

    Chief Executive Gordon McKie commented, “A positive long term commitment to the future of the game has been given today and we have agreed on a long term vision for professional rugby.

    “As the national governing body for the game in Scotland I believe we need to make better use of our limited resources, to try and galvanize the pro game here in Scotland and offer the sport greater strategic direction in all rugby matters.

    “The Board is also announcing today that a Chief Executive for the Glasgow Warriors pro team will be recruited to drive the business forward.”

    Turning to where the Warriors will play in the future McKie added, “It’s well known that Hillhead Sports Club will be seeking planning permission to develop part of their land at Hughenden, where the Warriors currently play. It is not clear how or when this may progress but naturally we are actively considering a number of alternative locations including Scotstoun.

    “Last summer the Board ruled out Scotstoun as a future venue because of the design proposals that were put on the table at the time. Were these proposals to change sufficiently, we may reconsider Scotstoun as a venue for the team, along with our other options.”

    Andy Irvine, the President of Scottish Rugby added,“Today represents an important step in the evolution of professional rugby in Scotland. Along with my Scottish Rugby Council colleagues we fully support the principal of today’s Board decision.

    “It is very regrettable that the Border Reivers is to close but it’s important our pro teams get a chance of success and the only way to do that is to concentrate our resources.”

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    Last edited by Burgs; 01-04-07 at 00:04.
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    REIVERS THROWN LIFELINE
    The Border Reivers might now be able to stay above water after being thrown a lifeline earlier this week.

    Due to close its doors at the end of the season, the Scottish club has been given new hope following two hours of talks between the Scottish Rugby Union and the Scottish Borders Council this week.

    SRU chief executive Gordon McKie, chairman Allan Munro and president Andy Irvine met leading council officials and Reivers board chairman David Kilshaw and agreed to take a rescue plan forward. The development marks the first significant discussions since the SRU announced two weeks ago that the team is to close at the end of the season which sparked anger in the Borders.

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