Former Lion joins task force

Triple Lions tourist Lawrence Dallaglio has been named in a 13-man task force set up to restore rugby's reputation. [more]

Former Lion joins task force

Triple Lions tourist Lawrence Dallaglio has been named in a 13-man task force set up to restore rugby’s reputation.

Dallaglio has been appointed to a panel established in response to the recent ‘Bloodgate’ affair and the enquiry into allegations of drug-taking at Guinness Premiership side Bath.

The panel has been charged with presenting a series of recommendations aimed at helping rugby improve its image and will report back to the RFU by the end of September.

"The RFU has been very clear that we needed to act quickly at a game-wide level to ensure that recent events can never happen again,” said RFU chief executive Francis Baron.

"The Image of the Game Task Group includes the people we believe can help us do that and we will also work closely with the International Rugby Board in support of their initiatives in this area.

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"I’ve been inundated with emails and letters from people who are concerned and do not understand how, at the top end of the game, things seem to have gone wrong in terms of our core values.

"They are looking for us to put it right and that is what we are going to do. The task group is determined to take action to restore the good image of rugby union."

Dallaglio, who toured South Africa, Australia and New Zealand with the Lions in 1997, 2001 and 2005 respectively and is a now a member of the Board at former club London Wasps, will be joined on a panel led by RFU president John Owen by the likes of fellow Lion and the RFU’s elite rugby director Rob Andrew, Bath prop and Professional Rugby Players’ Association chairman David Barnes and Worcester Warriors owner Cecil Duckworth.

"This is not a disciplinary panel set up to take action against clubs and players, the RFU disciplinary process will handle that should it be necessary. Nor will it be a talking shop,” added Baron, who is also among the panel.

"It will be focussed on the issues at hand and actionable solutions. We will do whatever it takes to rebuild the reputation of the sport and that work starts now."

The RFU will be communicating their findings on a regular basis, with the task force’s first meeting due to take place in the week beginning September 7.

The objectives of the new task group are as follows: 

1. To review the impact of recent disciplinary cases on the standing, reputation and image of rugby union. 

2. To consider any other evidence of ‘cheating’ or ‘gamesmanship’ supplied to the task group involving any of the following: 

– Fabricated blood injuries
– Feigned injuries to enable substitutions or gain an unfair advantage
– Other medical interventions with players to gain an unfair competitive advantage
– Events of ‘gamesmanship’ to gain an unfair competitive advantage
– Unfair interference with the opposition team’s operations. 

3. To assess the impact of recent events on the game in England and on our commercial partners who support it.

4. To review the recommendations of the ‘Core Values Task Group’ and recommend any additions necessary to incorporate any matters arising out of the above issues.

5. To review the management reporting lines in professional clubs and recommend a model for club governance to ensure proper accountability for implementing the Task Group’s recommendations.
6. To review and update all existing ‘Codes of Conduct’ in the light of recent incidents.
7. To review any professional or ethical issues for doctors, medics and physios arising out of recent events.
8. To consider the need to incorporate any additional provisions into the Standard Player Contract and EPS Player Contracts.

9. To incorporate as appropriate the findings and conclusions of the Illicit Drugs Forum recently established by the RFU.
10. To review our regulations in the respect of the above issues and recommend any changes or additions necessary to the RFU Council.

11. To produce a detailed action plan with target dates for delivery of each element. This action plan will detail clear outcomes, proposed strategies to counter inappropriate practices and any proposals for changes to RFU rules and regulations.

The task group’s 13 members: 

John Owen – RFU president (Task group chairman)
Martyn Thomas – RFU management board chairman and IRB representative
Francis Baron – RFU chief executive
Cecil Duckworth – chairman and owner of Worcester Warriors, PRL board member
Andrew Coppel – chairman of London Irish, PRL board member
David Barnes – Bath prop and chairman of the PRA
Lawrence Dallaglio – former Lion and board director at London Wasps
His Honour Judge Jeff Blackett – RFU Disciplinary Officer
Bob Rogers – RFU past president and chairman RFU ‘Core Values’ Task Group
Peter Baines – RFU governance standing committee chairman
Rob Andrew MBE – RFU elite rugby director
Andrew Scoular – RFU community rugby director
Peter Thomas – RFU corporate communications director

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