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Former Court of Appeal judge to head independent WRU review

03 Feb 2023 2 minute read
Welsh Rugby Union chairman Ieuan Evans (left) and acting chief executive Nigel Walker. Photo Jacob King PA Images

Dame Anne Rafferty has been appointed as chair of an independent review panel that will report on organisational culture and behaviour within the Welsh Rugby Union.

WRU chiefs have admitted being in “denial” over the extent of sexism and misogyny in the organisation and said warning signs were missed.

WRU chair Ieuan Evans and acting chief executive Nigel Walker appeared before the Senedd’s Culture, Communications, Welsh Language, Sport and International Relations Committee on Thursday.

They were called to give evidence after serious allegations were aired in a programme by BBC Wales Investigates last week, which have rocked the WRU.

The union’s chief executive, Steve Phillips, stepped down at the weekend and it was announced that an external taskforce has been asked to carry out an independent review.

That panel will now be headed by Dame Rafferty, a former Court of Appeal judge, following her nomination by Sport Resolutions UK.

Further panel members will be appointed next week, the WRU said, with the review beginning on February 13.

The panel’s review will incorporate the period from 2017 to the present day, although that time-frame could be adapted.


Under its terms of reference, the panel’s role is to investigate allegations of sexism, misogyny, homophobia and racism, and to understand how the WRU can be open to change so as to ensure that highest standards are identified and upheld.

The panel’s scope will cover culture of the WRU, actions and behaviour at all levels within the WRU, the extent to which employees feel able to voice concerns or challenge inappropriate and discriminatory language and behaviour, effectiveness of the WRU’s whistleblowing policy procedures, and the WRU’s actions in response to individual complaints set out in the BBC Wales programme.

The WRU says it intends to publish the report’s findings and any recommendations in full, while also implementing all recommendations.

Dame Rafferty was the first woman to chair the Criminal Bar Association and was appointed a High Court judge in 2000.

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