Baron calls for RFU disrepute charge
August 30, 2011
Baron has launched another attack on his former employers © Getty Images
Former Rugby Football Union boss Francis Baron has launched a fresh attack on his former employers and called for acting chief executive Martyn Thomas and five other board members to be charged with bringing the game into disrepute.
Baron, RFU chief executive between 1998 and 2010, believes Thomas should be called to account after being roundly condemned in the recent review into the events leading up to the sacking of chief executive John Steele. He has also singled out fellow board members Rob Udwin, John Spencer, Ian Metcalfe, Jonathan Dance and Peter Baines who were also roundly condemned in the report produced by Judge Jeff Blackett.
In an lengthy interview with the Daily Telegraph, Baron claims they should face a disciplinary hearing for "gross mismanagement" and allowing a "complete collapse in governance standards".
"I believe the right way forward is for the RFU to convene a disciplinary hearing to evaluate the allegations in the Blackett review and to allow those who feel they have been wrongly accused a fair opportunity to present their case and be legally represented," said Baron.
"It is the right way forward because it is fair to our membership, because they want to see something happen, but is it also fair to the people who have been accused of wrongdoing. If that happens the council has got to suspend those board members, pending the outcome of the hearing, as would happen in any other walk of life."
The RFU board is already facing the prospect of a vote of no confidence at Friday's council meeting unless it makes public the Blackett review now that a motion, signed by 29 council members, has been lodged demanding its publication.
Baron also admitted that he was willing to return to the governing body if called upon "to sort out the appalling mess". He also intimated that he would have no problem working alongside Sir Clive Woodward, should England's 2003 World Cup-winning coach return to the RFU in the future to lead the rugby department - despite a well-publicised differences between the two men when Woodward left the RFU in 2004.
"I don't have a problem with Clive," admitted Baron. "If I went back to help, I would want six months to sort out the management structure mess. Unless you agree what the roles are and who reports to whom, there is no point in even thinking about individuals."
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