Former Aberdeen Grammar president Jim Rae has hit out at the SRU for denying him the opportunity to speak to the north region’s member clubs at its annual forum at Elgin tomorrow.
Rae, who has been associated with Aberdeen Grammar for 49 years, claims only a selected few are allowed to have their say at the forum.
He had planned on stimulating debate at the meeting by giving his thoughts on the club game and how it can support the development of future international players.
The 61-year-old, who resigned as president at Grammar this season due to his unhappiness with the current structure of the club game, had originally been given permission to air his views at the forum tomorrow.
That was, until Mike Monro, Caley North regional representative for the SRU council, intervened earlier this month to tell Rae his input was no longer welcome.
Rae said: “It has been apparent for a while now only one level matters, the professional one.
“I stood down as president of Aberdeen Grammar largely due to this as I felt, and still do, it was disgraceful.
“I knew I could not challenge this as a member of the club as the SRU would censure me or the club. I believed being a longtime rugby supporter and someone who cares about the game would be enough.
“I was quite prepared for anyone to challenge me on what I had to say but the idea that, when all the clubs in the north are meeting together, we shouldn’t be talking about what we believe is the best way forward for Scottish rugby astounds me.
“I’m upset at the way the tail is wagging the dog in our game. People are disappearing from our game because they are fed up and we have to address it. We’re losing our local identity.
“Instead of trying to develop our game at grass-roots level we seem determined to hold our emerging players back and allow the SRU to force professional players upon clubs, stifling our own development programmes in the process.
“Surely the movement of players should be upward to the pro and semi-pro ranks rather than feeding down the way.”
Grammar’s second and third string sides play against the north region teams in the Caledonia League but the SRU claims any issues Rae has should be taken up at National League level.
A spokesman for the union said: “Mr Rae’s club is not represented by Mr Monro despite its geographical position.
“Aberdeen Grammar Rugby will compete in the National League in the 2014/15 season and the club is represented currently by Doug Ward, the National League representative on the Scottish Rugby Council.
“Aberdeen Grammar Rugby and Aberdeenshire RFC, represented by Championship division representative Ian Barr, on the Scottish Rugby Council, do, however, have additional XVs beyond their first XV in North leagues, therefore will be in attendance at Sunday’s conference as honorary members and represented by office bearers of the respective clubs.
“Currently, the National League and Premiership forums have a working party in operation to discuss the wider issues noted by Mr Rae. Gordon Thomson of Aberdeen Grammar Rugby sits on this working party.”