Brian Moore, a man of whose playing record my club is immensely proud, takes to task those who have dared to challenge the powers that be in English rugby.
His complaints were against the 30 members of the RFU Council who signed a letter calling for greater accountability of the union’s Executive, a body that has presided over a financial crisis that has become a playing crisis as evidenced by the performance of the England national team.
He says they should not have made this challenge at the time they did – during the World Cup – nor in the way they did, without, in his view, providing any alternative answers.
Brian may not be aware of the actual situation at HQ, but the fact is that it is the RFU Executive that has dictated the timing of any rebellion by the rank and file of rugby union – and I should quickly point out that neither the Championship nor any of its representatives have signed the letter complained of.
But we do know that it is the Executive that determined the timing: by attempting to push through a new eight-year Professional Game Agreement – in league with Premiership Rugby Ltd – that would reform the professional game precisely as they want, but not as Championship clubs, nor the bulk of the community game in leagues below Tier Two, desire. Unconsulted and ignored, the grass-roots of the game have called ‘Enough!’. They were not prepared to sit back politely to watch the Rugby World Cup being used as cover for the unnecessary acceleration of a reform that – to the extent that any of its secret contents can be known – appears to work against the interests of the rest of the game below the elite level of the national Team and the Premiership.
On Brian’s second point, the letter writers were not calling for specific types of change, but for an explanation of the motives behind the actions of the Executive and for the type of transparency and accountability that is expected of a representative body such as the RFU. Those representing the interests of the rest of the game are fed up with being treated as unimportant and inferior. They have spoken up. Brian should learn more about the realities of what has happened in recent weeks and months among this sport’s administrators before condemning those who he believes have risen above their allotted station to call for fair play.