Today, David Moffett defied his doubters and marched right up to the gates of the Millennium Stadium with 51 signatures in his red box, more than enough to force the Welsh Rugby Union (WRU) to convene an Extraordinary General Meeting (EGM) of all its member clubs.
Moffett, the former CEO of the WRU, will attend the EGM as a newly-inducted member of one of those clubs, to put himself forward as a candidate for election to the board of the WRU.
His campaign can no longer be dismissed as a side show. Nearly a quarter of the WRU’s member clubs have been brave enough to risk the Union’s wrath in order to support Moffett. According to the WRU’s constitution, as far as we can tell (it’s difficult to get the WRU to be open about even the simplest things like the number of clubs who are actually members of the Union), the EGM has to take place within 60 days.
Let’s remind ourselves of the issues which will be discussed at the meeting:
The 9 issues to be raised at the EGM are:
- The CEO and the Executive must confirm the League structure for season 2014/15. The new league structure was decided with no direct input from clubs. In recent meetings with the Districts the WRU was informed that the new league structure was unacceptable. The Executive have ignored the clubs and have not provided a viable alternative. To date clubs have not been directly informed by the WRU of their intentions
- The CEO and Executive continue paying down debt at a rate that is detrimental to the clubs.
- The CEO and Executive have allowed the cost of tickets and management of the ticketing office to spiral out of control.
- The CEO and Executive are operating without a proper business and strategic plan that has been communicated in full to all stakeholders.
- The CEO and Executive are withholding urgently needed funding to all levels of the game despite reporting £11million in Reserves in FY2013.
- Despite a promise from the Chairman, CEO and President have not provided the facts to contradict a ‘scurrilous’ and inaccurate financial expose by a former WRU Group CEO David Moffett, they have not done so.
- Since 2007 the CEO and Executive have failed to recognise the urgent need to evolve the Professional, Semi Professional and Community games in line with best practice.
- The Board, have themselves, not followed best practice as recommended by the UK Government and the Board of WRU is not fit for purpose.
- Despite a document entitled A Manifesto for Change provided to all clubs by former WRU Group CEO, David Moffett, and numerous attempts by him to contact the Chairman, the WRU has ignored its existence whilst belatedly announcing identical strategies many weeks after its release.
In spite of this, the WRU even today tried to claim that the primary issue raised in those 51 letters was “the proposed league restructure.” The proposed league restructure is a big issue for all rugby clubs in Wales, for sure. But it’s by no means the only issue the clubs are complaining about.
The WRU have nearly two months to start spinning their side of the story in an attempt to get enough clubs on side to avoid a vote of no confidence. For a no confidence motion to succeed, it would require at least another 100 clubs to support the 51 who’ve called for the EGM.
There are certainly enough clubs who are sufficiently angry with the WRU’s attempts to wreck the lower leagues, but will they be brave enough to stand up in an open meeting and show their opposition?
We’ll know soon enough. What you can be sure of is this: the WRU aren’t going to go down without a fight. You can expect to see a lot of good news press releases emanating from the WRU’s spin doctor John Williams in the coming weeks, and maybe even an appearance or two from CEO Roger Lewis and Chairman David Pickering on BBC Wales, the WRU’s unofficial PR agency.
Today, even BBC Wales grudgingly admitted that Moffett’s campaign has succeeded mostly through the use of social media. The corollary to that admission being that he has succeeded in spite of the attempts of the mainstream media to suppress all coverage of his activities.
Personally I’m looking forward to the usual ill-informed nonsense from Andy Howell of the Western Mail, who made a complete fool of himself at Moffett’s press conference today. If the EGM vote of no confidence does succeed, we will not only have the relief of seeing the back of the incompetent, self-serving egos at the top of the WRU; we will also have the satisfaction of proving the likes of Andy Howell and his friends wrong once again. It’s been a long battle, but finally it’s starting to feel like it’s one which has been worth fighting.