English Rugby
RFU Council set to reject calls for reform
ESPNscrum Staff
December 2, 2011
Rugby Football Union president Willie Wildash, Presidents XV Awards press conference, Twickenham, England, November 1, 2011
RFU president Willie Wildash is set to head up a task force to look into the Slaughter and May review recommendations © Getty Images

The Rugby Football Union Council is reportedly set to reject the vast majority of the recommendations contained in the controversial review into the governing body's corporate governance.

The Slaughter and May review, commissioned in the wake of the highly critical Blackett report into the sacking of John Steele as chief executive, will be formally presented to Council at Twickenham on Friday with the Daily Telegraph reporting that it is unlikely to trigger major changes and that a vote on many of the recommendations may be delayed until 2013.

The review calls for radical changes including reducing the size of the Council from 63 members to 25 and that anyone who has served for 10 years or more should step down. Sports minister Hugh Robertson has urged the RFU to embrace the recommendations but one Council member told the newspaper that his demands are set to fall on deaf ears.

"Getting council and the game to accept Slaughter and May is going to be a mammoth task and I am certain around 80 per cent won't be accepted by council," said the Council member. "There won't even be a vote to accept tomorrow; it will merely be presented and then a task group set up to look into it.

"The non-controversial parts will go before the next council meeting in February so they can go before the game at the annual general meeting next July. The more controversial recommendations are going to require a lot of work to be done to get the clubs on board and I can't see them doing so until the AGM in 2013."

RFU president Willie Wildash is expected to head the task force to look into the recommendations while further resistance is likely to come from those concerned by a potential power struggle with the country's leading clubs.

"The review recommends one member, one vote, but if you look at the Premiership clubs, they could all ask their supporters to become members of the RFU and suddenly 12 clubs could have half a million votes at their disposal," said another Council member. "This is a route to power for the Premiership clubs so this will never get off the ground.

"There is also no support for the idea that there should be a fixed term on council membership and the regionalisation of the council is going to lead to a massive fight because the constituent bodies will lose their identity. There is also going to be a big battle over the recommendation that 20 per cent of the members of the new council should come from ethnic minorities and women because that is just not reflective of what the split is in the game at the moment."

The Council will also receive an update on the hunt for the source of the leak of the three reports into England's World Cup campaign and debate the recommendations made by the management board earlier this week to scrap the performance director position, allowing the next England head coach to answer to the chief executive

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