Rugby Football Union Apologises to Former Chairman Martyn Thomas

By Community | September 3, 2012

The Rugby Football Union has apologised to former chairman Martyn Thomas for the comments made against him in the report into former CEO John Steele’s departure from the organisation.

Steele left the RFU in controversial circumstances in June of last year and Thomas was one figure who was at the centre of the Blackett Report into the former CEO’s departure.

The report, which was submitted on July 8, 2011, for debate on July 10, 2011, stated that Thomas – who was 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.

But a subsequent independent report compiled in November last year by Charles Flint QC concluded there was “no solid evidence” to support misconduct charges against Thomas. The RFU has now claimed that there was “insufficient evidence to support these conclusions” and “therefore apologises to Martyn Thomas”.

The statement concludes: “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.”

The Blackett report had originally recommended that Thomas and the whole RFU board, apart from Bill Beaumont, should all resign. The panel reached their conclusions based on evidence from 65 witnesses on a confidential basis.

The report was eventually sent to member clubs in September last year after Thomas had initially succeeded in blocking its publication by threatening to sue for defamation during an RFU council meeting.

That threat remained live once Thomas had been cleared by the Flint report and the RFU council members were told by email in May that Thomas may issue a defamation writ. But today’s announcement seemingly brings an end to any animosity between the two parties.