Regional Rugby Wales, the umbrella organisation for the Scarlets, Cardiff Blues, Newport Gwent Dragons and Ospreys has issued the following statement.
On behalf of the four Welsh rugby regions, Regional Rugby Wales has given its full support to former Dragons CEO (now Chief Executive of Cardiff City FC) Gethin Jenkins following the release of his personal statement relating to his tenure as elected Regional Director for four rugby regions on the Board of the WRU.
Mr Jenkins has responded to what were deemed highly personal and inflammatory statements made by the executive of the Welsh Rugby Union at its recent AGM in support of the WRU’s case to exclude Regional Rugby Wales from its right to have a voice on the Board of the WRU.
Chief Executive of Regional Rugby Wales, Stuart Gallacher said:
“We support Gethin Jenkins in his personal statement in which he has outlined his views on what he considers was an unwarranted, personal and wholly inappropriate attack on him during the course of the WRU AGM, at which he was not present to respond.
“Gethin Jenkins is a man of integrity and experience – he commands respect both in rugby and wider sporting circles and would only feel required to defend his position publicly in this way if he considered a serious injustice had been served on him and had impacted the standing of the rugby regions.
“At the time of the AGM, I expressed our deep concern and complete dissatisfaction with the manner of the attack on my predecessor, which obviously left many in the room feeling quite uncomfortable and frankly quite shocked at what had been said.
“It was neither gracious nor morally acceptable to launch such a personal attack on a regional director who sat on the WRU board prior to any litigation - particularly without him being present or indeed being made aware of the manner of the allegations being made.
“The position of the Regions is that the Regional Director on the WRU Board has continued to work wholly within the Union’s Articles of Association which defines areas of corporate governance and covers issues such as conflict of interest. It is clearly wrong to suggest Gethin Jenkins showed a “serious breach of misconduct and behaviour” in this regard.
“Any issues relating to sensitive information being discussed at the WRU Board have now been covered with a resolution passed at the AGM to now amend its Articles of Association. It now allows the Chairman of the WRU Board to exclude any director from a meeting if he deems there is a conflict of interest.
“It is the region’s view that this provides the WRU with all the “protection” it requires on discussions which may involve any potential conflicts of interest and there was therefore no sensible need to exclude RRW completely from the board and silence its voice.
“Indeed as one of the corner-stones of Welsh rugby, the Regions have a rightful place on the WRU Board, as they do with all the major competitions including ERC for the Heineken Cup and Celtic League for the Magners League.
“We still seriously question why our exclusion from the WRU Board was deemed necessary and what the long-term impact and implications will be.”
In his statement Gethin Jenkins said:
“As stated previously I had no wish to get involved in a public argument with the Welsh Rugby Union and would prefer to concentrate on my work at Cardiff City FC. However now that I have become fully aware of the level of vitriol aimed at me and the manner in which it was presented, when I was neither aware of what was going to be said nor able to defend myself from the allegations, I feel compelled to put out a response.
“The use of the phrases "passing secrets", "a spy in the camp" and "serious breach of misconduct and behaviour" are plainly absurd and an unwarranted slur on my reputation and integrity. I was hardly a spy. I was CEO of a Region, elected by the Regions and sat on the board of the Union as the Regional representative. In that role I was the bridgehead between the two sides and it was always acknowledged and accepted that I would report back from the meetings in the same way that I had seen district representatives do countless times through district meetings.
“Conflicts of interest were specifically dealt with and recognised within the Union's Articles of Association and it was clearly contemplated there that there could be situations where conflicts could arise between the Union and a director effectively representing an interested person. Those Articles provided (rightly or wrongly) that this was not a reason for exclusion of the particular director from the matter of debate. Accordingly, I along with all other directors, would report details of the various meetings in which I was involved, whilst still remaining cognisant of my wider responsibilities as a director. The Union, whilst at times possibly frustrated by this, was nevertheless aware of it and recognised its implications. Indeed, on at least one occasion, the executives went so far as to purport to call a board meeting without my knowledge or involvement specifically in order to discuss the participation agreement and their tactics with regard thereto without my presence.
Furthermore, even if the meetings were secret in the way they are now portraying (which I believe is either naive or misguided in the least) my understanding is that they would still have had to have been formally disclosed under the disclosure rules ahead of the court case, in the same way the Regions disclosed emails and minutes of their individual board meetings, both within the Regions individually and in respect of Regional Rugby Wales Limited as the umbrella organisation representing all of them.
I am sure anyone who knows me will recognise that I never gave anything less than 100% to the Dragons and to the Union during the four years I was on the board. This attack in my opinion says more about certain bruised egos, the collapse of the court case, the subsequent participation agreement that was eventually entered into, than it does about my conduct and the ridiculous allegations that I "was a spy" and leaked material.
I am very saddened by the stance taken by the Union. To use me as the reason for the removal of the Regions right to appoint a director to the WRU board is a smokescreen and unwarranted. To personalise the argument for this reason and in this manner is disingenuous of them in the extreme and which I firmly believe most fair minded people will see and acknowledge.
As always, I wish both the Regions and the Welsh Rugby team well both on and off the field."