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Carruthers pleads Edinburgh’s case

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The bitter feud between Edinburgh’s bosses and the SRU may only just be starting, as the accusations and denials began in earnest on Thursday.

Edinburgh franchise owner Bob Carruthers has said that the SRU tried to buy Edinburgh back, but for less than they originally sold it for.

Carruthers, whose brother Alex resigned as Edinburgh chairman along with Managing Director Graeme Stirling on Thursday, also revealed that investors have withdrawn from future cash injection plans, saying they will only honour what they are currently committed to.

“SRU Chief Executive Gordon McKie would like to get Edinburgh back and have us walk away,” said Carruthers to The Scotsman

“That is the last thing we want to do but McKie has continually asked us what our price would be.

“We’ve said ‘okay’ give us our money back – and they know exactly how much we paid – but they won’t do that. The last thing in the world we want to do, anyway, is walk away.

“Edinburgh’s investors say they will honour their commitment 100 per cent but not a penny more. We have the ability to run Edinburgh as a Connacht-style (developmental) team without SRU input but would rather have greater aspirations, obviously.”

Those aspirations include the arrival of world-class fly-half Stephen Larkham from Australia in November, a move which may now be jeopardised.

The initial dispute was over the revenue share of Edinburgh’s income from Magners League and Heineken Cup participation, and has since escalated to such an extent that Edinburgh’s Scottish international players were pulled from the national squad to train with Edinburgh only until July 13, ahead of the Rugby World Cup.

Edinburgh have said they are entitled to a bigger share of the revenues as they are financing more on matchdays than they had initially signed up to, but the SRU has refused to budge on its stance

“We are not sabotaging any World Cup bid because the weight training the players are doing with Edinburgh is exactly the same as they would be doing with Scotland,” said Carruthers angrily at suggestions of undermining the SRU’s World Cup attempt.

But a letter from SRU secretary Graham Ireland and leaked to a local newspaper threatened Edinburgh with disciplinary action under International Rugby Board regulations governing player release.

“What really needs to be cleared up are the threats to close us down. It is time to bring in the Players Association because, having closed the Borders, are the SRU really prepared to make another 40 players redundant? These players need assurances,” explained Carruthers.

As is so often the case, it is the players who are left wondering where to go and who to go to.

Players’ association chief Jim Hay has now entered the fray and offered to mediate.

“I have contacted the two Edinburgh representatives on the Players’ Association, Ally Hogg and Chris Paterson, to say they should not allow themselves to be stuck in the middle and that I am available to assist any individual if required,” he said.

“I had known what Edinburgh were planning because they were good enough to keep me informed on behalf of the players. They are putting pressure on to try to resolve a long-standing dispute.

“Typically, the SRU are trying to shove matters aside and hope it goes away. They have acted similarly in a dispute involving my refusal to sign a confidentiality agreement in order to sit as an independent representative of the players on the SRU Council and clubs, too, have seen this approach.

“There are clear conflicts of interest when a governing body enters the commercial market place as the SRU do and this can’t be ignored.”

Edinburgh Supporters’ chairman Bert Lawson gave a more heartfelt explanation of the franchise’s side of affairs.

“There are obviously two sides to everything and I am probably more familiar with Edinburgh’s t

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