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Blackett confirms RFU review scope

Judge Jeff Blackett has confirmed he will chair a five-strong panel to review the hiring and firing of John Steele as Rugby Football Union chief executive.

The RFU's management board ousted Steele from his post at an emergency meeting last Thursday night after deciding his position had become untenable.

The following day, the council requested Blackett, the RFU's chief disciplinary officer, conduct a review into the whole issue. Blackett confirmed on Wednesday the terms of reference for the review and the four other members of the panel.

RFU council members Geraint Ashton Jones and Malcolm Wharton will be joined by two independents - Andy Reed, MP for Loughborough, and Vic Luck, formerly general manager of IBM UK.

Blackett's panel will investigate everything from Steele's recruitment to loss of confidence in his leadership and the process leading to the termination of his contract.

The panel will investigate the recruitment process for the performance director position, which played such a key part in Steele's downfall and whether the board's governance could have been better.

Judge Blackett said: "It is vital for the reputation of the RFU that we move quickly and decisively on this and that we are able to carry out an open and transparent review of the events of the last few months.

"Only when we know what happened can we ensure that lessons are learnt for the future good governance of the RFU.

"We owe it to our members and all those who play and watch rugby to ensure that we are diligent and thorough and I would like to thank the panel in advance for their involvement in what will be an intensive and busy programme if we are to come back to the RFU Council in just over three weeks."

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