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RFU agrees on independent judiciary

The Rugby Football Union council has agreed in principle to replace their own disciplinary officer with an independent head of judiciary from July 2013.

The move is set to lead to the exit of Judge Jeff Blackett, a co-opted member of the council, from Twickenham - although not as soon as the RFU board would have liked.

Blackett succeeded in defeating a proposal for the changes to be made as soon as possible - most likely at a special general meeting later this year - by a vote of 27 to 26 with two abstentions.

As a result, Blackett will continue in the role of disciplinary officer, which he has held since 2003, until a vote on the proposed rule change at next year's AGM.

The decision follows recommendations in the Slaughter and May report into the RFU's governance which stated Twickenham's disciplinary process should be fully independent.

Meanwhile, the Rugby Players' Association are considering their options after the RFU rejected their request to publish the Monitor Quest report into the World Cup leaks.

RPA chief executive Damian Hopley is "extremely frustrated" the RFU have refused to make the document public and he has argued there should be some accountability and transparency over the damaging leaks.

The damning reports laid bare the inside story of England's "doomed" World Cup campaign, painting the picture of a disunited squad with some players accused of being more interested in money than glory.

The investigation into the leak, conducted by strategic intelligence company Monitor Quest, was inconclusive but one of the 25 people who had access to the reports refused to co-operate.

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