The Scottish Rugby Union are not among the sport’s governing bodies served with claims on Thursday by lawyers acting for former players suffering from head trauma conditions, but could be in the New Year.
The international body World Rugby, England’s Rugby Football Union and the Welsh Rugby Union received a pre-action letter of claim from Rylands Law, who are acting on behalf of nine players alleging neglect by the sport.
The legal firm say that they have as many as 110 players interesting in pursuing claims against the governing bodies, including a reported 10 from Scotland, but Murrayfield has not been served with the letter of claim as yet.
It’s understood that the letter may yet be served on the SRU in January as the case progresses.
`Governing bodies had a duty’
The letter, released to The Guardian, states that governing bodies had a duty “to take such steps and to devise and implement such rules and regulations as were required in order to remove, reduce or minimize the risks of permanent brain damage as a consequence of the known and foreseeable risk of concussive and sub-concussive injuries.”
The players so far who have gone public with their claims include the former Lions and England hooker Steve Thompson, and now also a former player as young as 30, ex-Wales Under-20 cap Adam Hughes.
The three bodies served with the pre-action letter released a joint statement saying it would be “inappropriate” to comment on the contents of the claim.
“World Rugby, the Rugby Football Union and Welsh Rugby Union can confirm they have received a letter of claim from solicitors representing certain players and will now take time to consider its contents,” read the statement.
“We have been deeply saddened to hear the brave personal accounts from former players.
“Rugby is a contact sport and while there is an element of risk to playing any sport, rugby takes player welfare extremely seriously and it continues to be our No 1 priority.
“As a result of scientific knowledge improving, rugby has developed its approach to concussion surveillance, education, management and prevention across the whole game.
“We have implemented coach, referee and player education and best practice protocols across the game and rugby’s approach to head injury assessments and concussion protocols has been recognised and led to many other team sports adopting our guidance.
“We will continue to use medical evidence and research to keep evolving our approach.
“As with any potential legal proceedings, it would be inappropriate to comments on the specifics of the letter.”
The SRU released a statement earlier this week saying “whilst we absolutely take the matter of concussion seriously, it is not appropriate for us to comment on any specific cases or claims.”