RFU set for further strife
August 28, 2011
Judge Blackett's report has received widespread calls for publication © Getty Images
The Rugby Football Union faces fresh turmoil this week as pressure grows for the release of Judge Jeff Blackett's review of the events leading up to the sacking of chief executive John Steele.
Reports suggest that Blackett's investigation, which was based on 66 interviews and 189 pieces of documentary evidence, was highly critical and called for all non-executive members of the RFU management board, except IRB vice chairman Bill Beaumont, to resign in the wake their shambolic failure to recruit a performance director.
The RFU Council's initial attempts to have the review published were thwarted by the threat of legal proceedings from lawyers acting on behalf of former RFU chairman Martyn Thomas but a fresh bid to secure its release has been tabled ahead of a September 2 meeting with members prepared to turn up the pressure yet further.
The Daily Telegraph reports that 29 of the 61 council members have already backed a motion demanding Blackett's 52-page report is published with a simple majority the only requirement to endorse the action. An RFU source has also told the newspaper that if the motion is not carried then it will be swiftly followed by a vote of no confidence in the management board.
"We are confident of securing a simple majority now that we already have 29 signatures supporting the motion," they said. "If we get it and the boards still don't agree to publish the report or attempt more legal threats then their positions will become untenable. We would then forward a vote of no confidence."
The RFU has also come under pressure from Sports Minister Hugh Roberston who called for an independent review into recent events. Robertson subsequently called for a meeting with acting chairman Paul Murphy and was said to be pleased with the discussions.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
"The only thing that will stop this England team from becoming a great team is themselves. They need to ask themselves 'what can we be?'" The Phil Vickery column
The latest Monday Maul looks at the hectic final weekend, the Lions hangover, the superb Mike Brown and the 'selfie'
"At the crux of this England team is a lack of fear, they are not afraid to throw playbooks out of the window." Tom Hamilton reports from Twickenham
"These little deft touches, the nuances O'Driscoll has perfected are what Ireland will miss most." Tom Hamilton on Brian O'Driscoll's final Test in Dublin