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RFU Council rebels apologise for emails
ESPNscrum Staff
December 21, 2011
RFU chairman Martyn Thomas talks to the media, RFU press conference, Twickenham, England, September 7, 2010
Martyn Thomas endured a torrid year at the RFU earlier this month © Getty Images
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Rugby Football Union Council members Alex Murphy and Paul Ross have apologised for the role they played in the email campaign that threatened to unseat former RFU chairman Martyn Thomas.

Thomas resigned from his post as RFU acting chief executive on November 29 but not before a series of emails claiming to be from Market Bosworth RFC had called for a special general meeting to debate his fate following a troubled year for English rugby's governing body.

The author of the emails claimed 136 of the 2000 clubs registered to the RFU supported the proposition but an initial RFU investigation found only 16 willing to come forward. Murphy and Ross were later accused of being behind the emails while the secretary of the club, Mike McKay, denied that the correspondence was in any way official. However, Murphy and Ross were quick to defend their position earlier this month.

"Market Bosworth secretary Mike McKay just forgot I had been put in charge of gathering support for the motion," said Ross, who is president of Leicestershire rugby. "There's nothing more to it. I asked Alex Murphy to send out the email because of his data base of councillor addresses."

Murphy added: "We have nothing to hide. Everyone knew I was helping Malcolm collate the 120-plus clubs backing the SGM."

Ross and Murphy have since apologised for their actions citing a misunderstanding and RFU disciplinary officer Judge Jeff Blackett has concluded his investigation. "We would like to apologise for any misunderstanding on our part regarding the setting up of an email address to solicit responses from clubs for an SGM," Ross and Murphy said in a joint statement.

"It was not our intention to mislead anyone but we realise that we acted without the direct authority of the club and we recognise that this was an error of judgement. We are grateful that the club and Jeff Blackett have accepted our explanation and that that the matter is now closed. We will be contacting the clubs who supported am SGM to tell them this will now not be progressed."

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