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Last Updated: Monday, 10 July 2006, 10:52 GMT 11:52 UK
Edinburgh to become a franchise
Alex Carruthers with Edinburgh players Scott Murray and Chris Paterson
Alex Carruthers (centre) will chair the new Edinburgh Rugby Limited
Edinburgh Gunners are to become a franchise, ensuring the future of Glasgow Warriors and Border Reivers as well as Scotland's capital club.

The Scottish Rugby Union had warned that funding problems could force it to scrap one of its Celtic League sides.

But a private company headed by businessmen Alex and Bob Carruthers has agreed to finance the new Edinburgh Rugby Limited for the next five years.

The SRU will retain a seat on the new company board.

Scottish rugby's governing body will also continue to provide funding and support to the new owners in development.

And it retains the right to call up Edinburgh players and coaches for national squad and representative team selection.

We are rugby fans through and through and to take over the running of the Edinburgh team is very special

Bob Carruthers

The new club will continue to play their home games at Murrayfield "for the foreseeable future".

Author, film producer and music promoter Bob Carruthers, who already sponsors Kirkcaldy rugby club, will become the principal shareholder in the new agreement.

Brother Alex - who was a member of various international age group squads, Scotland Under-21s and Caledonia Reds - will be executive chairman, with a managing director yet to be announced.

SRU chief executive Gordon McKie said: "This is an important development for all of us at Scottish Rugby.

"Scottish Rugby is committed to controlling the debt situation and this is exactly the sort of pro-team business model we wanted to work towards.

"By the start of the new season, the Edinburgh team will be run by new owners, backed by Scottish Rugby.

"Today's agreement with Edinburgh allows us to maintain an active involvement with three professional teams in Scotland this coming season.

"We are still interested in continuing dialogue with any serious co-investor for our other two pro teams."

The Carruthers group of companies will also become the SRU's official concert promoter, with plans to bring some music and entertainment shows to the stadium in the future.

"The likely injection of music concerts and other events here at Murrayfield will allow us to make better use of our world class national stadium in the future," said McKie.

Finding backers for Edinburgh comes 10 weeks after the SRU announced it would seek joint venture partnerships with external investors in an effort to stem a core debt of more than 23m.

The Carruthers group were among 12 potential partners who have had talks with the SRU since then.

Bob Carruthers said: "We are rugby fans through and through and to take over the running of the Edinburgh team is very special.

"The sport has much to offer and we see tremendous scope to develop mutually beneficial plans here at Murrayfield."

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