<
>

SRU row becomes political issue

The Scottish Parliament is to discuss the power struggle at the Scottish Rugby Union.

Labour MSP Susan Deacon has put forward a motion, which is supported by Kenny MacAskill of the SNP and the Liberal Democrats' Mike Pringle, calling for the reinstatement of David Mackay as chairman and Phil Anderton as chief executive.

The pair resigned their positions earlier this week after a vote of no confidence in Mackay by the SRU general committee.

Three non-executive directors have also quit the executive board in protest amid fears of a players' revolt in the wake of the row.

And Deacon wants Holyrood to discuss the situation, which threatens to tear apart the game in Scotland.

Her motion states: ``That the parliament notes with extreme concern the current situation within Scottish Rugby which has seen the resignation of a number of senior figures within the organisation, including David Mackay as chairman of the executive board and Phil Anderton as chief executive, following a no-confidence vote in the chairman by the SRU general committee; recognises the importance of rugby at both a local and national level as one of Scotland's
major sports; applauds the efforts which had been made by the former chairman and chief executive to take forward a strategy which would secure a sustainable future for rugby in Scotland; believes it is vital that effective leadership and direction is restored within Scottish rugby at the earliest possible date, and supports calls for the reinstatement of David Mackay as chairman of the executive board and Phil Anderton as chief executive to secure this objective.''

The Labour MSP for Edinburgh East and Musselburgh insists the future of the game could be in danger unless the current power struggle is resolved.

Deacon said: ``Rugby is one of our national sports and we (MSPs) have a legitimate interest.

``I have watched events unfold in the last few days with a mixture of sheer despair and disbelief.

``Obviously, I recognise there are a range of views but there are ways and means of going about dealing with these difficulties and the vacuum that has now emerged is clearly unsustainable.

``It is absolutely clear that direction and leadership is required within the organisation as early as possible and I support calls that have been made to reinstate the chairman and chief executive.''