PLANS by two leading figures in Scottish rugby to buy Glasgow Warriors, the city's professional team, have been abandoned because they could not secure financial support.

David Mackay, the former chairman of the Scottish Rugby Union, and Brian Simmers, the founder of current national champions Glasgow Hawks, have had to admit defeat because potential investors could not be convinced to back their plans for the three-year period that they believe was necessary.

The two, who joined forces earlier this year to bring private investment to the Glasgow team, yesterday said they were disappointed and "worried" about the future of the professional game in Scotland.

News of their failure comes as a further blow just a week after Gordon McKie, chief executive of the SRU who own the Warriors, warned rugby fans in the Borders that the Reivers pro team was running out of time to prove it can generate the backing necessary to be viable.

Mackay, confirming that the Glasgow plan had foundered, told The Herald: "Sadly, we have had to raise the white flag. Brian and I are very, very disappointed. Brian told Gordon McKie last night and I think he was disappointed, too.

"We've reached some peaks when we thought we were within a whisker of getting the commitments we needed to be able to make that trip to Murrayfield."

Mackay, the former chief executive of John Menzies plc, and Simmers, former owner of the Scottish Highland Hotels group, had put together a fiveyear plan. While prepared to invest money of their own, their plan required millions of pounds to let them run the business long enough to see whether they could take it into profit, even with continued support from the governing body.

Mackay said: "There was a fair amount of interest in what we were looking to do, but most of it was for a year and no-one was prepared to back the project for three years which we believe was the minimum we needed.

"We are grateful for the support we've had but, realistically, it seems that at least for the present there is no future in doing what we were trying to do and that is worrying. It is great to see Edinburgh getting bigger crowds and winning but you need more than Edinburgh in Scottish rugby."

Multi-millionaire brothers Bob and Alex Carruthers took control of Edinburgh, who have dropped the Gunners tag from their name, in a five-year deal with the SRU in July.

Mackay and Simmers' plans for the Warriors had been dependent on a series of meetings that took place during September. Mackay said: "We were speaking to two potential corporate backers and one private individual. The individual was making the right noises but needed at least one of the corporates to come on board and they did not. No-one was able to break our business plan down, but nor were they willing to look far enough ahead to see that we could make a profit two or three years down the line."

He added: "I fear for the professional teams [in Scotland] but then I always did fear for professional rugby. The Borders have a great tradition but no support and tradition doesn't pay the wages. Glasgow should be one of the strongest brands in the UK and we believed we could do it, but it does not seem that the support is there.

"We could see Glasgow getting 5000 spectators in a couple of years and, based at the new Scotstoun, you could really see where that would start to pay for itself, but we had to have the finance in place to cover the period until that was the case."

He said he had nothing but praise for the local politicians who had given their backing to the project and that he was "particularly disappointed on behalf of Glasgow City Council, who walked the mile for us."