The 2017-18 Financial year was a challenging one in many ways, but one that produced positive results for the game and sets us up to move forward effectively.
Positively, the domestic game has continued to get both bigger and stronger, thanks in the main to the work of the clubs and the committed volunteers who are leading and delivering the clubs.
We continue to work to provide support for clubs on the areas that will have the biggest impact. Clubs remain the heart of the game in Scotland. Looking forward, we want to continue to listen to the membership and our focus will be delivering the support clubs need in a way that works for clubs. We believe the club game can continue to go from strength to strength and want to support clubs to drive that.
A large part of the focus on the performance side was on qualification and preparation for the Commonwealth Games. Moving into the year, we had no clarity on the process for qualifying or securing invites for our Men’s and Women’s teams and we had a short window to prepare together as teams out with the domestic season and during the year we received the invite for the men’s team only and had two coaching changes with that team.
With this backdrop, the performances at the Games were not short of outstanding and a credit to the players and coaching staff, and the huge amount of work that went in behind the scenes to pull it all together.
We also have a significant number of players representing Great Britain in senior, wheelchair, youth and 3v3 formats of the game.
While the GB system has its own financial challenges to overcome, our focus remains on providing the development required by Scottish players to get them to the performance level.
We believe that working in partnership we can develop players capable of competing at the highest levels of the game. As we move out of the Commonwealth Games cycle, the focus will be to take the significant amount of learning we have gained and apply it to our system. Our focus will shift to making players better in the club game, through regional academies and through investing in coaches across the system.
Financially it has been a challenging year, which is explained in detail in the financial section. We have changed our approach on the commercial front and we are already seeing significantly positive results in this area. We are also cutting our cloth appropriately so that we are in a position to have a stable financial model as we move forward.
As David Davies mentions in his comments, there has been some significant change at Board level and also in the staffing team. I believe we are now in a strong position to deliver on our long term plan and the focus will now be on bringing the sport together to grow and improve the game in Scotland.