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England Rugby
Thomas: RFU excess must end now
ESPN Staff
November 11, 2012
Martyn Thomas, Twickenham, England, September 7, 2010
Martyn Thomas says the RFU is avoiding crucial changes © Getty Images
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Former chairman Martyn Thomas has attacked the Rugby Football Union for failing to implement recommended reforms and end "justifiable costs" within the organisation.

The RFU commissioned Slaughter and May to report on the organisation's structure last year. The report, which was completed in November 2011, outlined a number of strong recommendations, including changes to the RFU Council, which costs £1.6m a year.

With further discussions on the report being postponed to January 2013, Thomas believes the RFU Council - a 60-strong body of representatives from the amateur game with most to lose from the recommendations - is in the process of shelving any reforms.

Thomas argues the expense of maintaining a bloated and privileged Council, whose members enjoy considerable perks, is in fact diverting crucial money away from the very clubs they are supposed to represent.

Thomas told the Rugby Paper: "Turkey's don't vote for Christmas, and the RFU Council will not vote themselves out. This has to be reformed now. For instance, the annual £1.6m spend on the Council would enable floodlights, which cost c.£45,000, to be installed at 35 clubs a season.

"Some funding could also go towards drainage or clubhouse improvements, with all the implications those facilities have in encouraging participation.

"This report was finished in November 2011, and it is a scandal that a year later not a jot has been done. It was due to be discussed again this month, but has now been put back to January 2013. It is clear the Council's aim is to stall the process before parking it for good.

"The purpose of the RFU Council in the amateur era was to assist the RFU Executive in managing the game, but we now have a professional staff of over 500 at the RFU to do that. The skill set does not exist within the RFU Council to assist in running the international or professional club game, and therefore costs it incurs cannot possibly be justified."

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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