The Scottish Rugby Union (SRU) Board has ended the Development Partnership we had been operating since January.
However, Chairman Sir David Reid has reacted swiftly to claims in the Scottish Sunday Times that the SRU’s decision was motivated by concerns “about the business model and commercial viability” of London Scottish.
“The SRU can have no concerns whatsoever about our finances,” said Sir David. “The SRU Board has known all along that our model, as for most Championship clubs, requires investors to step up and support the operational costs of running the club,” he told the LSFC website, “and since 2008 our great group of over 140 investors has contributed over £5m to the cause. They will be bridging the gap as usual next season, though we have been closing the gap and need to raise much raise less than in previous years.”
“Remember, this partnership was the SRU’s idea in the first place, and they offered to second 14 players as well as coaching and support staff. We therefore budgeted accordingly to fund fewer players and instead to cover the extra costs of accommodation and better training facilities. When, only last month, the SRU revised the offer to only ten players, and none of them senior players, London Scottish had to find extra players at extra cost. With pre-season a few weeks away, our budget and planning were suddenly blown off course.”
“We therefore questioned the support costs we were due to cover, and sought to negotiate this point. However we agreed last week to find the additional funds, only to be told the SRU felt they could not justify their own expenditure on the project.“
President Rod Lynch said “To have something like this dropped in our lap one week before pre-season training starts has an obvious financial and operational impact on us. We will now have to scramble in the market for replacements.
“It would be an understatement to say we are disappointed. The Club has worked tirelessly for more than a year since we reached agreement, to bring this Partnership to fruition. We were committed to playing our part in full over the next three seasons, which included providing finance to support the Partnership.
“We maintain that the English RFU Championship is the right place to introduce Scotland’s talented young players to the rigours of professional rugby, within the exile Scottish family.
“We believe the Partnership, which had effectively been in operation since the SRU announced it to the press in January, was the way forward for Scottish Rugby. The increasing co-operation, with coaching support from Sean Lineen and Roddy Grant, and young players on loan from Scotland, seemed an exciting foretaste of what was to come. Instead, Scottish Rugby, and the talented young Scots who want to play for their country will be the poorer.”