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On the face of it the financial accounts of the Scottish Rugby Union brought positive news, with income from the Six Nations on the rise and the injection of cash from the Rugby World Cup helping to take them out of the red and into the black to the tune of £1.5m.
But one line among the 28-page financial statement raised more than just eyebrows. The revelation that “the highest paid director received aggregate emoluments of £933,000”, more than double what was paid in 2018/19, should prompt serious questions of how the SRU are being governed.
The sum, which was paid to chief executive Mark Dodson, is a significant increase on the £455,000 salary the previous year and is considerably more than what is being paid to Rugby Football Union chief executive Bill Sweeney – and three times as much as Wales’s Martyn Phillips.
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Dodson is joined as executives on the Scottish Rugby board by chief operating officer Dominic McKay, finance director Andrew Healey and general counsel Robert Howat, who are all signed up to a ‘Long Term Incentive Plan’ to “attract, retain and incentivise participating employees over longer term periods and achieve alignment with the organisation’s medium and long term strategic initiatives and targets”.
Eye-watering governance salaries are far from a surprise in the 2020s, but when the boss of a union that has just £1.5m in the bank takes home nearly two-thirds of it per year, alarm bells have to be ringing. This, remember, is a union that has not won a major trophy in two decades and failed to make it out of the pools of last year’s Rugby World Cup, though the results apply up to the year ending 31 May 2019.
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