Mark Dodson has signed a contract extension which will keep him as Chief Executive of Scottish Rugby until June 2025.  

Having initially been appointed to the role in September 2011, Dodson’s tenure running the game in this country has been littered with controversy. His previous contract (which was due to run until next December) was announced less than three months before news broke that Scottish Rugby had lost an unfair dismissal case against former Director of Domestic Rugby Keith Russell. 

There was further uproar when it emerged in January 2020 that Dodson had picked up £933,000 in pay and bonuses for year up to end of May 2020, making him the highest remunerated executive in world rugby. 

Progress on the field has been patchy. Scotland’s two pro sides have become more competitive but the men’s national team achieving some notable one-off victories, but only managing to finish in the top half of the Six Nations table twice during the last 11 championships and failed to make it beyond the pool stages of both the 2011 and 2019 World Cups. 

Scotland Women defeated Colombia in February to qualify for their first World Cup since 2010, which will be played in New Zealand later this year, but have managed to win just three Six Nations matches in total (the last win being in 2018) since Dodson’s appointment. 

Meanwhile, there is concern amongst Scottish rugby’s grassroots about Dodson’s commitment to properly supporting and growing the game at that level, with Scotland continuing to have the smallest player base, by some considerable distance, of the top 11 rugby playing nations in the world. 

Significant growth in income during Dodson’s tenure, in line with the pattern worldwide, has been in tandem with spiralling costs, and it was concerning that the May 2020 accounts were published four months late and only after a £20m Covid support package from the Scottish Government was directed towards Murrayfield. 

However, Dodson is a man of iron will who has a track record of fighting his corner, both personally and on behalf of Scottish Rugby. His contract extension was unanimously agreed by the Board, who believe he has the experience and ability to steer Scottish Rugby through a period when significant outside investment is creating a state of flux for the game globally.

“Mark’s track record leading Scottish Rugby speaks for itself and as we enter what is likely to be a period of significant change and some uncertainty the Board unanimously agreed to ask him to continue for an additional 18-months,” said Scottish Rugby Board Chairman John Jeffrey.