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Guinness Premiership
Quins chairman resigns after 'Bloodgate'
Scrum.com
August 28, 2009

Harlequins chairman Charles Jillings has resigned his position in the wake of the 'Bloodgate' scandal.

Jillings follows director of rugby Dean Richards in falling on his sword after the club was found guilty of fabricating a blood injury to winger Tom Williams during their Heineken Cup quarter-final loss to Leinster in April.

Richards was handed a three-year ban for his part in the scandal, Williams a four month ban and the club fined £260,000.

The positions of Jillings and chief executive Mark Evans had come into question after Williams made allegations against the pair. In a document released by European Rugby Cup Ltd (ERC) it was detailed that Williams told an independent appeals committee the club had offered him a new four-year contract plus other benefits.

Williams also claimed in his written testimony that Evans and Jillings had asked him to refrain from a "full disclosure" in order to protect the club.

Williams originally accepted the new deal, and also admitted asking for more, but relented and came clean during his appeal. Jillings denies that the offers made to Williams were anything other than attempts to make up for "damage incurred" to his career as a result of the incident.

"The escalation of these issues in the public domain needs, I believe, a clear response," read a long statement from Jillings. "In this context I have decided to resign as chairman and director. Ultimately this happened under my watch and the failure to control must fall at my door.

"We, Harlequins, acknowledge that we failed to control Deans Richards. I trusted Dean. As a result of the board's failure to exercise control, the club cheated. This is totally unacceptable. The board was unaware of these facts until Tom Williams came forward on Wednesday July 29, after the initial ERC Hearing.

"I met Tom Williams at the PRA, with Damian Hopley in attendance on Wednesday August 5. In that meeting I apologised unreservedly and sincerely to Tom for the position he found himself in. I recognised his career had been disrupted because of the club's failure to control, and that if his ban stood at 12 months then he would be in no position to negotiate a fair outcome on his contract going forward.

"The offer of compensation was for damage incurred and was not a bribe or threat to Tom Williams. The offer was made on the basis of what he could have expected had his career continued on its projected path uninterrupted by these events. Interestingly, Tom commented that I was not offering him anything he could not achieve as a player. I made it clear to Tom that he had cheated and lied and that this was no basis for being rewarded."

Jillings' place as chairman has been taken on an interim basis by Malcolm Wall, who was previously chairman of the club between 1997 and 2000.

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