Senedd welcomes Welsh Rugby Union's cooperation over sexism scandal

Accusations of misogyny and sexism came to light last month and have led to the resignation of the WRU's chief executive. Credit: PA

The Senedd has welcomed the Welsh Rugby Union "opening your doors and your books" following allegations of sexism and misogyny within the organisation.

It comes after WRU chair Ieuan Evans and acting chief executive Nigel Walker appeared before a Senedd committee and an external taskforce was set up to carry out an independent review.

During their appearance in front of the Culture, Communications, Welsh Language, Sport and International Relations Committee on Thursday, Mr Evans and Mr Walker acknowledged there was a problem with the culture at the WRU.

Mr Walker gave a damning assessment, saying the organisation had turned a blind eye to the problem in the past.

Acting CEO Nigel Walker made the comments whilst appearing before a Senedd committee Credit: Senedd

Delyth Jewell MS, the chair of the committee, has written to Mr Evans and Mr Walker asking for updates on the taskforce's work "once it is ready and available".

In a letter published by the Senedd, Ms Jewell says: "This taskforce must be allowed to do its job independently and thoroughly".

She added: "We welcome your commitments to 'opening your doors and your books' to the taskforce.

"This transparency is an important step in conducting this work. We look forward to considering the recommendations of the taskforce once it has concluded its work."

The WRU has faced a difficult time on and off the pitch recently, with poor performances and difficult contract negotiations

The allegations against rugby's governing body in Wales came to light during a BBC Wales documentary aired on 23 January.

The scandal led to now-former WRU CEO Steve Phillips resigning, although no allegations have been levelled against him personally.

The scandal follows a difficult period for the organisation, with protracted negotiations over player contracts with the four professional Welsh regions.

The director of Scarlets, Ron Jones, said professional teams in Wales had been "bullied" by the WRU during discussions, and described the relationship with the governing body as "abusive".

The Senedd has also urged the WRU to "seek all avenues" to make sure its 2021 review of women's rugby is published.

It also wants to know how many non-disclosure agreements the organisation has used in the past five years, as well as how many staff members have been disciplined or subject to grievances related to alleged racism, sexism, misogyny and homophobia during that time.

On 3 February, the Rt Hon Dame Anne Rafferty was appointed as Chair of the Welsh Rugby Union Independent Review Panel.Dame Anne Rafferty is a former Court of Appeal judge.