English Rugby
RFU execs in line for bonus payments
ESPNscrum Staff
November 27, 2011
Martyn Thomas, Twickenham, England, September 7, 2010
Speculation is rife that outgoing acting chief executive Martyn Thomas is in line for a substantial bonus © Getty Images

The Rugby Football Union faces further criticism in the coming days with reports suggesting that acting chief executive Martyn Thomas and professional rugby director Rob Andrew are set for bonus payments as a result of strong financial results.

The Observer newspaper suggests that Thomas, who will cut his ties with the RFU next month, could be set for a £250,000 windfall following the publication of the Union's latest annual report that heralded an £8.7m profit for the last financial year. Such a scenario would leave English rugby's governing body open to fresh ridicule in the wake of a series of damaging leaks from the official review into England's troubled Rugby World Cup game and just days after Andrew's admission that the RFU had hit "rock bottom".

The newspaper details that the RFU's seven executive directors usually receive bonuses if financial targets are met with that decision made by the RFU's remuneration panel, a body made up of three non-executive members of the board of directors that is chaired by Peter Baines who refused to comment on the matter.

Thomas was heavily criticised earlier this year in a review into the brief tenure of former chief executive John Steel and survived a subsequent vote of confidence. One member of the RFU Council told the newspaper, "Council members have this year twice failed to take the appropriate action but the board would find itself drowned by a tidal wave of protests if bonus payments were made. Never mind the financial results, we have had a year when we have failed lamentably as an administration. If anyone were seen to be rewarded after that, it would not just heap more ridicule and contempt upon us but it would further alienate the rugby public at a time when we need to show them that we are sorting ourselves out. It would make us even more unpopular than bankers."

The RFU faces two key crucial meetings this week with the first set consider the World Cup post-mortem carried out by the Professional Game Board (PGB) and the second to review an investigation by the legal firm Slaughter and May into the governance of the union.

The Sunday Times details the key points from a leaked copy of the latter report that they state is unlikely to trigger major changes within the RFU structure. It is thought the proposed re-vamp would leave the professional game without formal representation on any significant body.

The key points reportedly include a call for no formal representation for clubs, players or referees on any major decision-making or executive body within the RFU, the existing Council to be slashed from 60 members to 25 and positions for Services and Oxbridge representatives to be scrapped. They also suggest re-vamping the ruling management board, making it a group of largely paid Union employees, union grandees and independent directors.

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

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