RFU faces vote of no confidence as clubs unite to tackle new combat laws

RFU faces vote of no confidence as clubs unite to tackle new combat laws - Getty Images

RFU faces vote of no confidence as clubs unite to tackle new combat laws – Getty Images

The momentum is building towards a vote of no confidence against Rugby Football Union’s chief executive Bill Sweeney, and nearly 250 clubs are now supporting a special general meeting (SGM) following the governing body’s move to take further action. laws.

Community Clubs Union (CCU), an independent organization founded just three days ago, spearheaded the campaign in response to last Monday’s announcement about lowering the height of legal action in community play.

They hope to get final signatures today on a letter requesting the SGM, which requires the support of at least 100 members of the union, and they are coordinating the process of collecting letters from each opposition club. As of 8am on Thursday, there were 246 of them.

These letters need to be signed by a president and a secretary, and the CCU recognizes that they must be truthful in their wording because previous attempts to summon them have “failed at the last minute” due to technical difficulties.

On Wednesday evening, the RFU appeared to reinforce its intent to enforce the interference law, and released a statement suggesting that a similar case in France produced “a more exciting game to play and watch”.

One of the biggest concerns among community clubs is that the French try-out carries significant differences in the RFU’s bids, such that only a single defender is allowed in any one challenge and is instead brought to the sixth tier of men’s amateur play. third, as in England.

The RFU’s statement also promised “an engagement period in the coming weeks” and laid out its plans to support players, coaches and referees.

“We will post more information in the coming days, including videos and FAQs, to provide further guidance,” the statement said.

“This will be followed by a multi-format training offering that will include face-to-face, webinar, e-Learning and will be presented to players, referees and coaches before and throughout the upcoming season.

“We will also provide targeted engagement to over 150,000 member age players and their parents to share appropriate learning content tailored for all age classes that they can use to further develop their fighting and contact skills.”

‘Full and candid discussion’

This aroused disdain among those in the community game, many of whom were frustrated by the fact that the RFU, announced by Telegraph Sport only last month, had forwarded these proposals. It turns out that only 14 of the 62 RFU councilors wanted the voting of the fighting laws to be postponed in order to consult with their clubs.

The CCU circulated a letter outlining the processes behind authorizing a councilor to cancel a vote and how to remove a councillor. Second, it requires the support of four clubs within the constituent body, which forces voting.

Tuesday’s correspondence between RFU council members, seen by Telegraph Sport, said there would be “a full and open discussion” on Thursday evening to determine how the tackle height trial “will affect community play, volunteers and volunteers”. participants” and “participation and communication strategy supporting the decision”.

Annus horribilis

This brutal reaction creates an annus horribilis for Sweeney. At the end of the 2022 Six Nations, the RFU was heavily criticized for making a statement declaring that it was satisfied with England’s travel direction under Eddie Jones, despite losing three games in their second consecutive Six Nations tournament.

Jones was later sacked in December, but was allowed to take on the role of head coach of Australia, leaving him in line to coach against England at the 2023 World Cup, as he did not sign the non-compete clause.

Elsewhere, in a professional club game, Sweeney appeared before a committee elected for the Digital, Culture, Media and Sports Department (DCMS) in November following the financial collapse of both the Worcester Warriors and Wasps.

There he was accused of “living alone in your ivory tower”. Last month, Sweeney was asked if he had considered his position, as encouraged by the DCMS selection committee.

“I love this job,” Sweeney said. “It is a privilege to do this. Sometimes quite demanding, we talked about 2022 and I believe I have the full support of the board. If anyone else thinks differently, it’s not my decision to make.”

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