Welsh Rugby Union chiefs have admitted being in “denial” over the extent of sexism and misogyny within the organisation and mentioned warning indicators had been missed.
Chairman Ieuan Evans and appearing chief govt Nigel Walker appeared earlier than the Senedd’s Culture, Communications, Welsh Language, Sport and International Relations Committee on Thursday.
They had been referred to as to offer proof after severe allegations had been aired in a programme by BBC Wales Investigates final week, which have rocked the WRU.
The union’s chief govt, Steve Phillips, stepped down on the weekend and it was introduced that an exterior taskforce has been requested to hold out an unbiased overview.
Evans and Walker apologised to members and mentioned they accepted there was an issue within the tradition of the WRU and had been dedicated to implementing the entire suggestions made by the taskforce.
The title of the chair and the scope of the overview is to revealed this week, Walker mentioned. He revealed the unbiased chair is a girl who has labored within the judiciary.
Asked if WRU workers members who had been made to signal non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) could be allowed to offer proof as witnesses to the overview, Walker mentioned he would “look to facilitate it to make sure they can be interviewed”.
However, he mentioned they had been unaware at the moment of how many individuals had signed NDAs.
Walker mentioned: “I think in any organisation, especially a large organisation like the Welsh Rugby Union, it’s possible for things to happen over a period of time and for people to turn a blind eye and not to address those problems.”
“So the warning indicators have been there for fairly a while.
“When it’s presented as graphically as it was during that programme, the BBC Wales programme the week before last, it hits you like a 10-tonne truck.”
Walker added: “To be candid, I think as an organisation we’ve been in denial as to the extent of the problem.
“There have been cases in the past which have been dealt with – in theory dealt with – and people have moved on, and I think each individual case is an indication that there has been a wider problem, but that people have not joined the dots.
“When you see it presented over a 30-minute programme in the way that it was, unless you’re going to bury your head in the sand for another six months or 12 months you have to take action and that’s the position we’re in.
“None of us are proud of the position we’re in.”
Walker mentioned London-based arbitration firm Sports Resolution has been requested to arrange the overview however it will likely be the duty of the chairwoman to decide on the opposite members of the panel, of which there shall be three or 4 folks.
Terms of reference have been set by Sports Resolution and Sports Wales in dialogue with the Welsh Government and the WRU. Walker confirmed the overview’s report and proposals could be made public.
“It will look at the culture of Welsh rugby, including sexism and misogyny, going back to 2017 but could go further back,” Walker mentioned.
“We are opening our doors. The review can take any direction the chair wants it to take.”
Jenny Rathbone MS, of Welsh Labour, questioned whether or not the WRU board had the “capacity” to alter given the problems that had been “rife” inside the organisation for “so long”.
Evans and Walker denied being conscious of the broader tradition of misogyny and each mentioned they’d not personally witnessed incidents of sexism or discrimination.
They confirmed no board member had been disciplined over claims.
Walker mentioned he had “no objection” to a redacted model of the 2021 girls’s rugby overview being revealed however mentioned conversations had been nonetheless on going about doing that.
He mentioned the report would make “uncomfortable” studying for these concerned within the WRU.
Sports minister Dawn Bowden was additionally questioned over when the Welsh Government had been made conscious of allegations.
Bowden mentioned she was conscious of claims over sexism and misogyny within the WRU final 12 months however had not seen any formal complaints, saying: “I did what I could.”
Labour MP Tonia Antoniazzi, who appeared within the BBC documentary, mentioned she wrote to Bowden final 12 months setting out her considerations.