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RFU President makes statement on Blackett Report circumstances

29 November 2011

  • Wildash - No basis, on the evidence [Charles Flint QC] has seen, for bringing disciplinary proceedings against any member of the Council
  • Full recommendations regarding the circumstances following the Blackett report available to download
Entrance to RFU offices at Twickenham Stadium

Photo: Getty Images

RFU President Willie Wildash: "At the RFU Council meeting on September 2, 2011 during the debate on a vote of no confidence in Martyn Thomas, Jeff Blackett as RFU Disciplinary Officer indicated that he had sufficient evidence on which to bring Rule 5.12 charges."

(Rule 5.12 gives power to the Union to discipline any person subject to its jurisdiction for any infringement of the RFU rules and regulations and "for any conduct which is prejudicial to the interests of the Union or the Game or which amounts to cheating".)

"On September 12 Jeff Blackett decided to withdraw from any involvement regarding determination about whether or not any disciplinary proceedings should be instituted following the publication of the Blackett Report. This was because he felt conflicted given his role in writing the report and subsequent RFU Council debates. Therefore, in accordance with RFU regulations, any decision on disciplinary proceedings in this matter needed to be taken by myself as RFU President.

"In order to protect the confidentiality of all those persons who provided information to the Blackett Review Panel I set in place a process that involved an independent law firm Bird & Bird and an independent counsel Charles Flint QC of Blackstone Chambers. This enabled the Panel to release written and/or oral submissions and for consent to be obtained from individuals for these submissions to be sent to Charles Flint for review.

"I instructed Charles Flint to advise me whether there was sufficient evidence to bring charges under Rule 5.12 against any individual based on the conclusions and material referred to in the report of the Blackett Review.

"I have now received Charles Flint’s opinion. In it he states that there is no basis, on the evidence he has seen, for bringing disciplinary proceedings against any member of the Council.

"In the interest of openness and transparency I have sought and obtained permission from Charles Flint for his full opinion to be published. Click on the following link to view Charles Flint's report in full (PDF 378 kB).

"I should like to thank once again the Blackett Review Panel which conducted a most thorough review into the circumstances surrounding the sudden departure of the RFU CEO in June. Its report highlighted lessons to be learnt in the future and made a number of recommendations, the majority of these have already been actioned.

"One of the most important outcomes from the Blackett Report was the decision by the RFU Council to commission an independent detailed Review of Governance of the RFU to be carried out by Slaughter & May. Their report was published on and its recommendations will be debated, after a period of consultation with the game and its stakeholders. Click the following link to view the Slaughter & May report in full (PDF 1.7 MB)."