at BT Murrayfield on Saturday 4 August 2018

NOTE on Motion 2 tabled by Haddington RFC and Glasgow Hutchesons’ Aloysians (GHA) RFC

Haddington RFC and GHA RFC wish to clarify that they have a single, simple reason for tabling their motion for the Scottish Rugby Union’s annual general meeting at Murrayfield on Saturday 4 August. That motion has no agenda other than to ensure that the clubs have the right to determine the format of the national competitions that they play in.

The reason behind drafting that motion was that at last year’s SRU annual general meeting an attempt was made to slot in a new bye-law which, if approved, would have meant that the Scottish Rugby Board alone would have the right to determine the format of these club competitions. That proposed new bye-law did not seem to come from the Scottish Rugby Union’s Governance Working Party: it was certainly not in that working party’s report which was submitted for the 2017 annual general meeting. Nor was it included in the summary of bye-law changes which was appended to that report.

At that annual general meeting Haddington and GHA representatives spoke against the addition of that proposed new bye-law. Our voices of opposition gained enough support for the revamped bye-laws to be narrowly defeated.

Nowhere in the current bye-laws is it defined who has the right to determine the format of these competitions. However, the clubs have had that right – albeit unwritten – since the national competition was introduced in 1973. The clubs wanted the competition: not only did they get it but they were also closely involved in developing the format. The composition of the initial four national divisions (each of 12 clubs) was based on the previous three seasons’ results in the previous unofficial championship as well as friendly matches. (That unofficial competition was drawn up by Scottish newspapers’ rugby writers, who also defined which clubs could be admitted. It was so disliked by one club office-bearer that he voiced his support for an official championship by stating he did not want his club’s status to be “at the whim of newspaper editors!”) Since then, changes in the competitions’ format have been with the clubs’ approval.

Following on from last year’s SRU agm it seemed to Haddington and GHA personnel that it was essential clubs’ right to define their national competition should be clearly enshrined in the bye-laws. Hence the motion tabled by Haddington and GHA and officially supported by 10 other clubs, as required by the Scottish Rugby Union’s bye-law 18.

We are aware of suggestions that we may have had other agendas for tabling the motion. One of these was that the motion was an attempt to undermine Agenda 3 and Super 6. However, we wish to assure all clubs that the intention, as stated, is simple, with only one agenda – our wish to write into the bye-laws a clear statement that the clubs have the right to define and determine the format of their national competition. We hope that all clubs will welcome this motion as being beneficial to themselves and will support it at the annual general meeting.

Portobello RFC and Lismore RFC have tabled an amendment to Motion 2. Haddington and GHA accept that amendment and will vote in favour it at the meeting.

Also, we have to address a “note from Council and Board on agm motions”, a paper which claims not to recognise what the phrase “national club competitions” refers to in the Haddington/GHA motion. However, the National Competition Rules’ first page refers more than once to “National Competitions”. The motion’s proposers included the adjective “club” within title “National Competitions” simply for clarity. We are sure the clubs will be fully aware of what competitions we are referring to.

Finally, we reiterate our hope that all club representatives attending the annual general meeting will vote in favour of the Haddington and GHA motion so that you can continue to have the right to determine the format of your competitions.

Keith Wallace, President, Haddington RFC

Bill McMurtrie, Secretary, GHA RFC

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