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Baron concerned over RFU


Francis Baron

Francis Baron

Francis Baron

Former Rugby Football Union chief executive Francis Baron has voiced concerns that the current crisis engulfing the governing body could threaten England's hosting of the 2015 Rugby World Cup.

Martyn Thomas quit as chairman on Sunday after the findings of a review into John Steele's nine-month stint as chief executive were reported to the RFU council. High Court judge Jeff Blackett was charged with looking into how the RFU was governed during the reign of Steele, who left his post last month, and his findings came down strongly on Thomas.

Steele's predecessor Baron now fears the saga could cause jitters in the international rugby community, and he told BBC Radio Five Live: "(The World Cup in) 2015 is so important for rugby in England. What is worrying me now is what the IRB (International Rugby Board) is thinking about when it appears the RFU can't even manage its own business."

He added: "My worry is that they're starting to say, 'Can we risk the RFU managing the World Cup in 2015?' And that would be absolutely horrendous for the game.

"That's why it is so important that we move quickly and decisively. The Blackett report has to be published, the recommendations have to be implemented."

The IRB is understood to be reluctant to get involved in what it sees as an internal affair but Baron has been horrified by the events of the past week.

He added: "What I am really concerned about is that, through the threats of legal action, the chairman and the board (of the RFU) seem to have been able to get a report that they commissioned suppressed because they didn't like its conclusions. That is unprecedented."