SRU probe scandal-hit Howe of Fife

The new Howe of Fife pavilion, which was officially opened last summer.
The new Howe of Fife pavilion, which was officially opened last summer.

Formal disciplinary proceedings are under way following a shocking incident said to have taken place on a Howe of Fife Rugby Club first XV team bus.

The Scottish Rugby Union has confirmed that three former office-bearers and a number of players are facing allegations of bringing the game into disrepute.

The office-bearers, who were believed to be on the bus at the time, all resigned last month and a new board of trustees was appointed.

Once the hearing concludes, the SRU will issue a report and confirm what action, if any, will be taken against the club and those involved.

Fines could be imposed or the team, which plays in League Division One, could even be relegated.

Last September, two club members, aged 20 and 22, were arrested and charged with sexual assault following the incident, which was allegedly part of an ‘initiation’ ceremony that took place as the bus travelled between venues.

However, the case never went to court. Said a Crown Office spokesman: “The Procurator Fiscal received a report concerning two men aged 20 and 22 in connection with an alleged incident on September 24, 2016.

“After full and careful consideration of all facts and circumstances the case was dealt with by way of an alternative to prosecution (Direct Measure).”

Direct measures include warnings, fiscal fines, compensation orders, work orders and social work diversion schemes.

A spokesman for the SRU said: “Scottish Rugby can confirm that independent disciplinary proceedings are under way, however no public comment will be made until they are completed.”

A spokesman for the club said that the trustees expected to learn the outcome of the disciplinary hearing by the end of this month.

A response would be issued once the SRU had made its decision.

The club, which was founded in 1921, unveiled a new, £1.4 million facility in Duffus Park, Cupar, last August, some six weeks before the bus incident.

Including eight modern changing rooms, a refurbished grandstand, a function suite and a community cafe, the new building was the result of a five-year project to create facilities fit for the 21st century, with the capacity to cope with two senior mens’ teams, the ladies’ team Howe Harlequins - and a full slate of mini and midi teams.

In 2014, Howe’s reputation was blighted when player Girvin Imrie was jailed for six years after being found guilty of raping a 25-year-old woman outside the club’s previous premises in Provost Wynd, Cupar.