PLANS to revolutionise Scottish domestic rugby unveiled at the weekend could eventually lead to Scotland having a third PRO14 team, according to SRU chief executive Mark Dodson.

His blueprint for the future of the Scottish game was presented to the member clubs at Murrayfield on Saturday, and was met with what appeared to be universal approval.

It will see a new top tier of the domestic game being created for the 2019/20 season – the “Super Six” – a semi-professional format that will pull the club game closer to the professional teams in Scotland. In addition, a new “Scottish Championship” of 12 teams will be created beneath the Super Six competition, alongside a new three division National League structure, all of which will contain wholly amateur teams.

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Those six major franchises will be bankrolled by the SRU to the tune of £127,500 a year, with the franchise clubs putting £62,500 of their own cash to the venture annually.

And while it may be only a pipedream, Dodson says there is scope to have one of Scotland’s super teams joining the likes of Glasgow Warriors and Edinburgh as full-time outfits.

“We could apply [to the PRO14] if we were to get one of our teams, which is strong enough, and becomes a third franchise that is viable. I’d love that opportunity to have three teams in the Conference.

“People have always been looking for a third pro team; it is the Holy Grail. We haven’t got the money to go and launch one tomorrow. But why wouldn’t we want to push for a third pro team, if they had the financial wherewithal to have 35 players and £7m a year, over five years? I’d welcome that, but we are a long, long way from that.

The revamp is to try and give Scotland as big a talent pool as possible for the international arena. However, it is evident from Dodson’s plan – and the feedback from many clubs throughout the country – that something had to be done, and quickly, to cut out illicit payments to players and the underhand bankrolling of some club sides, a situation the clubs themselves viewed as being unsustainable and damaging.

And Dodson says that the SRU will have a forceful ally in making certain all clubs in Scotland, are compliant with the new guidelines.

“When they (the clubs) asked us to stop player payments, people said how are you going to stop that.

“If you make a clear line down the middle and say what comes under the High Performance remit, and what comes under the domestic rugby remit, it is a clear line between who gets paid and who doesn’t.

“I’m not going to run around with a group of accountants, playing cops and robbers. We will have a situation where if we hear, or we believe, or a club is reported to be paying players, and there was found to be evidence in there, we would just talk to the HMRC. They will enforce this, not us.

“We were asked by our stakeholders to put a stop to this. The way to do that is through HMRC.”

Plans for a hotel and a museum at Murrayfield, the international qualification programme, and the SRU’s relationship with Stade Nicois, were discussed, and accepted by the stakeholders, perhaps helped by a record turnover of £51.4m, while the overall debt was reduced to £5.2m.

The only hiatus on Saturday was the decision of clubs to reject changes to the SRU’s bye-laws. Essentially, in trying to make them and their workings more transparent, the SRU managed to muddy the waters sufficiently to have the more suspicious within the body of the kirk, reject the changes.

However, the meltdown predicted by some doom and gloom mongers ahead of Saturday’s gathering, never materialised. Perhaps there was a realisation that rugby needs to be run as a business – not a game – to continue going forward.