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WRU chief executive to resign after sexism and misogyny allegations at organisation

Parc y Scarlets, Llanelli, Britain - October 20, 2017 General view of the rain at Parc y Scarlets Action - Action Images via Reuters/John Sibley


Parc y Scarlets, Llanelli, Britain - October 20, 2017 General view of the rain at Parc y Scarlets Action - Action Images via Reuters/John Sibley

Parc y Scarlets, Llanelli, Britain – October 20, 2017 General view of the rain at Parc y Scarlets Action – Action Images via Reuters/John Sibley

The chief executive of the Welsh Rugby Union is to resign after allegations of sexism, misogyny and racism within the organisation.

Steve Phillips has been under mounting pressure following a BBC Wales Investigates programme that revealed a “toxic culture” at the governing body and will now step down.

All four Welsh regions – Cardiff, Dragons, Ospreys and Scarlets – endorsed calls for Phillips to step down after the documentary aired last week.

In the programme Charlotte Wathan, the former head of Welsh women’s rugby, described how a male colleague joked in front of others that he wanted to “rape” her while another former WRU employee said she wrote a manual for her husband in case she killed herself.

The WRU said that both cases were investigated and proper procedures were followed.

Cardiff director Hayley Parsons last week called for Phillips and the WRU board to resign following the allegations. In an email to WRU chairman Ieuan Evans, she described a “long-standing and deep-rooted culture of toxicity and bullying within the WRU” and talked of the “incompetence” of the union.

Phillips had said in a statement earlier last week: “I cannot turn back the clock but I promise you we will start work on making necessary changes immediately. I will not lead an organisation which would walk past or excuse any of the behaviour described. I will not stand by and watch a culture which falls below the high standards we set.

“We will re-examine how we behave in all quarters of the WRU, we will never be complacent in this area, not on my watch.

“I care deeply about this subject, the WRU cares deeply and we will act to change wherever we find fault, genuine complaint or grievance.”

He has now opted to resign, as first reported in The Sunday Times, and Evans will now start the search for a new chief executive.

Evans said in response to Parsons’s email: “We are not deaf to the observations and criticisms we are receiving and we must re-examine, re-evaluate, act decisively where we find wrong-doing, and move forwards.

“We will use the pressure we are under now, the pressure we have drawn on ourselves, to get better, to improve. I will not waver from this task.”



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