The Scottish Rugby Union and Edinburgh Rugby Club are embroiled in a bitter fight over Magners League and Heineken Cup appearance fees. Chairman Alex Carruthers and Managing Director Graeme Stirling both resigned last week, and now the matter is heading for court.
In the meantime, Edinburgh have withdrawn their players from Scotland’s World Cup training squad in an attempt to force the Union to pay up.
The SRU have threatened to close the club should the dispute be taken to court, and the whole situation is hugely damaging for Scotland rugby.
Border Reivers – a club that also competed in the Magners League – has already been folded by the SRU, and the fact that Edinburgh was not consulted has fuelled the quarrel.
Now with only two clubs competing at a high level, Scotland’s international setup is under threat. Already ranked 11th in the IRB world rankings behind Samoa and Italy, Scotland could slip further into the abyss with only two teams from which to draw most of their players.
The Scots already face a difficult task to qualify from their group in this year’s Rugby World Cup. Tournament favourites New Zealand and Italy stand in their way, and if half of their players are prevented from training over the summer, Romania will give them a good game.