The reserves of the Hong Kong Rugby Football Union (HKRFU) may be down by HK$20 million, but its guard, as always, was up - shockingly denying members an opportunity to voice grievances at the annual general meeting (AGM) last night. In an unprecedented turn of events, the AGM at the Rugby Union Club ended in disarray when a couple of playing members were denied the opportunity to raise what were later described as 'pressing issues'. HKRFU president Gerry Forsgate concluded the meeting without calling for 'any other business'. He did nothing wrong, as the HKRFU's articles don't require this final motion. But the move incensed Valley member Craig Totten, who had earlier informed the meeting - soon after re-elected chairman Peter Duncan had given his annual address - that he wished to speak. Totten was acknowledged by the chair, but was not given the chance to speak. Why did the HKRFU, which says it prides itself on transparency and accountability, choose to take cover under a constitutional technicality? 'It is a joke what they did tonight. It is designed to shut the players up,' said Totten. He is one of the many unknown players in Hong Kong's rugby community. But another more illustrious player, Hong Kong and Kowloon hooker Leighton Duley, agreed with Totten last night. 'It is highly irregular what the Union did tonight. It is extremely bizarre that he was not allowed to voice his views,' said Duley. Totten says his issues covered topics like the lack of facilities which local clubs had to grapple with when they went to Shenzhen to play the PLA and whether the HKRFU was receiving value for money from the huge salaries bill it paid to its administrative staff. The meeting revealed that hard times are here to stay. Revenue from the 1998 Hong Kong Sevens was down considerably. The combined effect of the loss of Peregrine - which meant sponsorship income declined and merchandising had to be written off - the reduced sale of tickets and the poor economic conditions had a negative impact in excess of $13 million. Close to $2 million was also wiped off on HKRFU investments in stocks and bonds. 'The financial position of the Union still remains strong, with total reserves still in excess of $50 million,' said John Chiu, finance director. Last year he reported the reserves were 'in excess of $70 million'. Meanwhile, Valley had brought forward a motion to admit member representatives to direct membership of the Union committee with full voting rights. They say they feel that the clubs have no real representation on the board of directors. Last night's incident proves them right.