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Blackett report to be published

Judge Jeff Blackett's damning report into the handling of Sir John Steele's departure from the Rugby Football Union will be published, it has been announced.

In a day of high drama at Twickenham, the RFU Council decided to vote in favour of publishing the report despite a previous legal threat from former chairman and acting chief executive Martyn Thomas.

In another twist to the damaging long-running saga, Thomas had to survive a vote of no confidence tabled against him by the Council on Friday.

Thomas was against the report being published in the first place because it is thought the document is highly critical of his role in Steele's exit from the union in July.

Paul Murphy, who has been appointed permanent RFU chairman, is confident no legal action will be taken against the council despite Thomas' recent threat, saying: "There is no pending legal action. The report will be out in the public domain. Now everyone has agreed it can be published. We will produce it by the end of September."

Steele, and the Union's board, received strong criticism for their handling of the recruitment of a performance director - a role which is now likely to be scrapped. Steele came under fire for changing the job description of the role and then reverting to the post's original specification within days.

RFU favourite Sir Clive Woodward was interested in taking over the role but withdrew his application after the Union's embarrassing U-turn as reports emerged of a boardroom power struggle at Twickenham.

Blackett undertook a comprehensive review of the recruitment process after the debacle and is thought to have recommended that the RFU Board resign.

Murphy says the Board have accepted Blackett's review but insists no-one is considering resigning.

When asked whether he anticipated any resignations, Murphy said: "No. None whatsoever. There is a statement from everyone saying they accept them (the recommendations). We hope this is the beginning of closure of this issue now."


From Belfast Telegraph