Thomas survives vote of no confidence
September 2, 2011
Martyn Thomas had been under pressure to step down © Getty Images
The power struggle at the top of the Rugby Football Union (RFU) took another dramatic turn on Friday evening as acting chief executive Martyn Thomas survived a vote of no confidence, while Paul Murphy was appointed as chairman.
RFU council member Alex Murphy had tabled the motion against Thomas and it was defeated comfortably, a source close to the meeting told Press Association Sport. Thomas, who took on the role of chief executive following Sir John Steele's departure in June, stood down as chairman in July and has been under fire for most of the summer. Thomas has been heavily criticised by Judge Jeff Blackett in his report into the departure of predecessor Steele and a decision was taken on Friday to release that report.
Murphy, meanwhile, took on the role of interim chairman after Thomas left in July and will not assume the post on a permanent basis before next summer's AGM, when there will be an election for the post. Murphy, speaking outside Twickenham after his appointment, gave no indication whether he would look to stand for election at that meeting, which will take place in July 2012.
However, he then released the following statement:
"As everyone is aware, today we have held a Board and Council meeting to discuss a number of issues. Let me please run through them and what was decided today.
"1. The recruitment of a new Chief Executive will be accelerated with recruitment consultants appointed within the next few weeks, followed by interviews and we hope, an appointment well before Christmas.
"2. Helping in that process will be a fully independent non-executive Director. I am sure that person will be of the highest calibre and will be of huge benefit with regard to our Corporate Governance responsibilities.
"3. While on Corporate Governance I can also announce that we have approved the appointment of independent auditors to conduct a full review on our Corporate Governance and to recommend ways to enhance it.
"4. Regarding the Chairmanship of the Rugby Football Union Council endorsed my appointment as Chairman, rather than Acting Chairman, until the next AGM in July 2012 when an election will take place.
"5. The Council also debated the proposed rugby department structure. It recommends a joint responsibility of a Professional Rugby Director and also a Development Director rather than just a Performance Director. This will now go to the Professional Game Board for consultation when they meet next Thursday. The Board will then make a final decision on 14th September.
"6. The Council approved the release of the Blackett Report by a substantial margin (43 For, 4 Against, 8 Abstentions). It will be sent out in full to all Member Clubs of the RFU by 30th September 2011. It will be accompanied by a letter from myself explaining the progress we have made to date.
"7. A vote of no confidence in Martyn Thomas was proposed by Alex Murphy (Notts, Lincs & Derby Council Member) and this was rejected by a comfortable margin."
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