England

RFU 'forced' to apologise for mistake

Mon, 03 Sep 2012 20:07
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The RFU accepts there was insufficient evidence to support these conclusions
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The Rugby Football Union has been "forced" to apologise to former Chairman and acting Chief Executive Martyn Thomas over incorrect conclusions in a report.

This follows after Thomas was heavily criticised in a report that followed an investigation into the exit of his predecessor, John Steele.

The RFU, the national controlling body of the game in England, admitted they had no evidence to jump to the conclusions they did.

The report by RFU chief disciplinary officer Jeff Blackett said Thomas had leaked confidential information to the media to undermine Chief Executive Steele, who left following a vote of no confidence.

A subsequent report by lawyer Charles Flint found there was no solid evidence to support Blackett's conclusions.

The RFU on Monday issued the following statement: "Following the departure of John Steele on 9th June 2011, the RFU Council set up a review to examine the events that led to his departure and further to consider how and why confidential information was leaked to the media and to see what lessons could be learned.

"The Review Panel conducted interviews with more than 20 individuals, received written evidence from in excess of 40 people and reviewed numerous documents. The Panel submitted its report to the RFU Council on 8th July for debate on 10th July.

"The Panel's report was debated again on 3rd September 2011. At this later meeting a decision was taken to publish the report. It was sent to member clubs and there was some further onward publication.

"The report made a number of conclusions. Amongst these it concluded that Martyn Thomas, the then Chairman and Acting Chief Executive:
(i) had inadvertently, but improperly and repeatedly passed confidential information in relation to the RFU either directly or indirectly through third parties to members of the media;
(ii) had inappropriate contact with one of the candidates for the role of RFU Performance Director and breached confidentiality between prospective job applicants.

"The RFU now accepts that there was insufficient evidence to support these conclusions. Consequently, the RFU believes it right that these conclusions be withdrawn.

"The RFU therefore apologises to Martyn Thomas.

"The RFU is now pleased to bring this matter to a close. We wish to thank Mr Thomas for his many positive achievements during his long and valued service to the Union and wish him well for the future.

"It is further agreed that neither Mr Thomas nor the RFU will comment further on this matter."

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