RFU left reeling as chief executive Steve Brown announces he is stepping down

16 Nov

Rugby Football Union chief executive Steve Brown is stepping down at the end of the year after only 16 months in the role.

Brown ends his seven-year association with the RFU, having replaced Ian Ritchie in September 2017.

Brown’s resignation comes just nine months before the Rugby World Cup

It is understood that Brown had grown weary of the internal politics at the governing body and that the decision to resign was his own.

The RFU has been plunged into turmoil by his departure, which comes nine months out from the World Cup and in the wake of stinging criticism from former chief executive Francis Baron.

Baron produced a report accusing Twickenham of financial mismanagement after 64 redundancies were made during the summer despite record revenues being generated for 2016 and 2017.

The RFU disputes a number of his claims which are based on its published accounts only and he has not worked since departing in 2010.

Brown said: “This has been a very difficult decision for me to make and I informed the RFU board earlier this week that the time is right for me to step down and take some time out.

“I’ve loved my time in rugby and am deeply proud to have made a contribution to a sport I love.

“It has been a fascinating seven-and-a-half years and a great honour to lead the RFU over the last 14 months. I am proud of the people who make up the union.

“I’m sad to leave, but the Union is in good shape, with an excellent leadership team in place.”

Brown declared his rise to chief executive as the “job of a lifetime” upon his appointment only to be ground down by the intrigue at the game’s largest and richest union.

“The RFU staff are very sad. Steve is a popular leader and greatly admired and respected for his decency. He will be missed,” an RFU spokeswoman said.

Director of professional rugby Nigel Melville will act as interim chief executive until a replacement is found.

Baron alleges there has been a cumulative net loss of £46.4million since 2012 and questioned the revised cost of the new East Stand hospitality facility, which rose from £54m to £81m.

Brown said in August that the redundancies were to help offset rising fixed costs against an outlook of plateauing or reduced profit.

He oversaw delivery of the 2015 World Cup on these shores following Debbie Jevans’ resignation and in January awarded England head coach Eddie Jones a contract extension lasting until 2021, dependent on results at Japan 2019.

He has also been involved in negotiations over the new season structure, which was revealed last month.

RFU chairman Andy Cosslett said: “This is a sad day for the union. Steve has made a huge contribution to the RFU during his time here. He has been a pivotal figure during a long period of sustained growth.

“Steve’s tireless work ethic and selfless attitude has won him the respect of all who know him and the game will be extremely sad to see him go.”

The RFU paid tribute to Brown’s work

Tottenham Hotspur stadium latest: RFU reject plans to let Twickenham host Premier League clash with Manchester City

15 Aug

The Rugby Football Union is not interested in hosting Tottenham’s home Premier League clash against Manchester City at Twickenham.

The ground, which is known as the home of English rugby was shortlisted as a potential venue for the match due to construction delays at the new White Hart Lane and because Wembley, Spurs’ temporary home, is unavailable on October 28.

Spurs will play their home games at Wembley until their new stadium is ready

However, the Daily Mail claims the RFU are not considering any approach for the game to happen at Twickenham as officials are determined to preserve the stadium’s status as a rugby-only venue.

Spurs have even explored the possibility of postponing their home clash against the Premier League champions amid concerns of further stadium delays.

They have already deferred the proposed opening date of the £850million project for the visit of Liverpool on September 15 as there are problems with the safety systems.

The game against the Reds as well as Spurs’ following home fixture against Cardiff on October 6 will take place at Wembley, as will the NFL clash between Oakland Raiders and Seattle Seahawks, which was due to take place at the new White Hart Lane on October 14.T

Spurs will not have the option of using Wembley if their new ground is not ready for the visit of Pep Guardiola’s side as the NFL have booked the national stadium for the clash between Philadelphia Eagles and Jacksonville Jaguars.

The most viable option appears to be to rearrange the date of the fixture

The club has been in discussions with Premier League officials over how to resolve the issue.

To make matters worse, it’s unlikely the Premier League would sanction a reversal in fixtures and let the game happen at the Etihad Stadium as it would raise concerns over the integrity of the competition.

It would lead to the Citizens playing four of their final five games of the league season away from home – which would put them at a clear disadvantage and the Premier League are thus unwilling to put them in that position.

A switch would also see Spurs play four consecutive top-flight games at home in April which could cause logistical problems.