Controversial CEO Mark Dodson will likely cause yet more anger among Scottish rugby’s rank and file after only agreeing to a pay deferral – rather than an actual pay cut – as the sport in Scotland tries to get to grips with the fallout of the coronavirus pandemic.  

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There was a sizable backlash in the Scottish rugby community after The Offside Line revealed in January the staggering salaries paid to Scottish Rugby Union executives. 

Anger gripped Scotland in January after the revelation of what the SRU’s top executive was paid

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The website reported that the highest-paid executive – which is usually the chief executive, in this instance Dodson – received £933,000 for the year up to May 31, 2019, which was double his previous year’s earnings of £455,000. The fees and salaries for all the company directors also jumped from £1.13m to £2.246m.

The revelation caused a huge storm, with journalists and fans alike expressing outrage on social media at these findings and dissecting the situation Scottish rugby found itself in. 

Those critics are unlikely to be placated by the latest development which took place at a Scottish Rugby board conference call last Friday – a decision for Dodson to take a 30 per cent salary deferral from April 1 to September 1, and a 25 per cent salary/fees deferral for the same period for the executive and non-executive directors.

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Additionally, the country’s three main head coaches Gregor Townsend (Scotland), Richard Cockerill (Edinburgh) and Dave Rennie (Glasgow Warriors) also agreed to a 25 per cent salary deferral alongside Jim Mallinder, the director of performance rugby, for the same period.

In a statement released on Tuesday, the SRU stated: “The welfare of all our staff, clubs and players were top of the agenda and a full discussion held on the steps put in place to ensure they are all supported at this difficult time.

“It was noted that significant and detailed work is also on-going, at a pace, to review the considerable financial impacts on Scottish Rugby and the game in Scotland at all levels in respect of Covid-19… these initial steps and other steps will be reviewed ongoing in light of the challenge the sport faces.”

Colin Grassie, chairman of the Scottish Rugby board, added: “We are working extremely hard to navigate the sport of rugby in Scotland through these extremely challenging times. We would like to thank all our staff, sponsors, stakeholders for their support and collaboration.

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“We have a huge challenge ahead of us, but we will get there together and we will leave no stone left unturned to ensure the long term sustainability of Scottish Rugby and the sport in Scotland.”

WATCH: Finn Russell chats to Jim Hamilton in the latest episode of The Lockdown, the new RugbyPass series

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