Senedd committee to quiz Welsh Rugby Union over sexism scandal
The Chair of the WRU Board is to face questions at the Senedd when he and the Deputy Minister for Arts and Sport attend a sports committee meeting on Thursday.
Ieuan Evans and Dawn Bowden MS, have been invited to an urgent meeting at the Senedd in response to the allegations of misogyny, sexism, racism and homophobia made about the WRU this week.
The Senedd’s Culture, Communications, Welsh Language, Sport, and International Relations Committee is clearing its schedule to dedicate the next meeting, on 2 February, to the issue.
While stressing it is not an enquiry, the committee also wants hear evidence from Ms Bowden regarding what actions the Welsh Government is taking in response to the allegations.
The committee says the intention is to gain a deeper understanding of the issues brought to light in the BBC Cymru Wales programme aired this week, in which number of former Welsh Rugby Union employees detailed claims of a “toxic culture” in the organisation.
Charlotte Wathan, general manager of women’s rugby, until her resignation last February, spoke of how a male colleague said in front of others in an office that he wanted to “rape” her, while another unnamed contributor says she was left contemplating suicide by her experiences of bullying and sexism at work.
WRU chair Ieuan Evans has vowed that an external taskforce will be established to help tackle the allegations that have been made.
He and Ms Bowden met on Friday to discuss the independent taskforce, with Sport Wales acting chief executive Brian Davies, Sport Wales chair Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson and WRU chief executive Steve Phillips also in attendance.
Phillips, who said in a statement earlier this week that “our culture was not where it needed to be”, has faced calls for his resignation over the allegations.
The Welsh Rugby Players Association (WRPA), which represents players at Welsh rugby’s four leading teams, Dragons, Scarlets, Ospreys and Cardiff, has now called for “the strongest possible action being taken as soon as possible”.
A letter endorsed by all four Welsh regions, was sent to Mr Evans on Thursday demanding the immediate removal of Phillips and the entire WRU board.
A Union statement released on Friday night said, in order to maintain independence, Sport Wales will advise on the process to appoint a chair to oversee the investigation, set its scope and parameters and recruit key personnel to its panel.
The meeting starts 9.30am on Thursday 2 February, and is broadcast live on senedd.tv
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