Scottish rugby to seek external investment

Edinburgh's Stuart McInally and Jonny Gray of Glasgow Warriors at the Pro 12 launch. Sam Barnes/Sportsfile via Getty Images

Glasgow and Edinburgh will hope for a financial injection after Scottish Rugby's member clubs voted unanimously to allow external investment in the country's professional teams on Friday evening.

A total of 171 votes were cast in favour of the proposal at a special general meeting at BT Murrayfield, hours before Glasgow and Edinburgh kicked off in their respective Guinness PRO12 fixtures.

It is hoped the move will give the two clubs greater financial power to keep their best players and compete with their rivals.

Scottish Rugby chief executive Mark Dodson said: "I would like to thank our member clubs who have turned out in force tonight to support our ambitions to source external revenue for our professional clubs.

"This was a pivotal moment for the game in Scotland and I am delighted our members have empowered us to move forward.

"The hard work really does start now and we will now take time to prepare before entering a challenging market with what we think is a compelling and credible investment opportunity."

Earlier this month, Glasgow were able to tie Stuart Hogg down to a new contract until May 2019, and it is hoped Friday's decision will keep more players in Scotland.

Scottish Rugby president Rob Flockhart said: "In recent weeks we have been proactive in sharing with club members what our plans could be if the motion was passed and tonight they have given us a clear endorsement for the way forward.

"This vote will enable us to not only seek inward investment to the professional sides but also help to secure funding levels to our grassroots game and protect it from rising costs elsewhere in the game. It is a positive outcome and I'd like to thank all those who attended for their time, and support."