RFU eager to avoid ‘civil war’ over former chief Francis Baron


The Twickenham civil war intensified on Tuesday despite the RFU claiming they did not want to go back to the days of factions and battles within the ruling body.

Former chief executive Francis Baron has written a damning 40-page report, commissioned by a group of past presidents, highlighting where he believes the RFU have gone wrong with their financial management.

The current regime believe Baron and his cohorts are causing upheaval because they have lost their automatic seats in Twickenham’s Royal Box. But friends of Baron describe that as ‘utter rubbish’ and say that he has had concerns about the way the RFU have been managing their finances since 2014, with a £7.7million loss in the last financial year.

Ex-RFU chief executive Francis Baron has written a damning 40-page report on the ruling body

There is real irritation at Twickenham that Baron did not share his findings with the RFU executive. Instead, he sent it confidentially to RFU chairman Andy Cosslett on July 6 — 10 days before it was discussed by the RFU board. Cosslett has promised to meet Baron before the end of the month to discuss his worries.

The RFU claim that Baron’s report is riddled with inaccuracies and say neither he nor his backers have any proper idea how the RFU operate as a business in 2018. An RFU spokeswoman said: ‘It’s unclear why a small group of past presidents and a former CEO from eight years ago have acted in this way. 

‘We understand that they are now very removed from the workings of the Union, so if they need more information, all they need to do is ask and we will happily provide it.

'We are simply not prepared to go back to a time of factions and "civil war",' the RFU said 

'We are simply not prepared to go back to a time of factions and "civil war",' the RFU said 

‘We are simply not prepared to go back to a time of factions and “civil war”,’ the RFU said 

‘We are simply not prepared to go back to a time of factions and “civil war”. We have moved on from this and now operate in a very transparent way with a new financial governance model.’

Meanwhile, despite the financial management of the RFU being under a forensic examination, the redundancies at Twickenham include financial controller Richard Daniel.

The RFU spend on Eddie Jones’s England team is said to be running over budget by a six-figure sum, which will be no surprise judging by the army of personnel involved in the training weekend at The Lensbury. The RFU say there are 27 backroom staff, with the numbers at The Lensbury inflated by sponsorship and commercial activity.

RFU spend on Eddie Jones's England team is said to be running over budget by a six-figure sum

RFU spend on Eddie Jones's England team is said to be running over budget by a six-figure sum

RFU spend on Eddie Jones’s England team is said to be running over budget by a six-figure sum

Rifkind’s bitcoin snag 

The revolutionary initiative by property developer Charles Rifkind to fund the public purchase of the tunnels he owns under the Nursery End at Lord’s by bitcoin tokens has had to be delayed. 

The blockchain technology is not properly regulated and governments of the 80-plus countries in which there is Lord’s investment interest have still to agree on the process. 

Also, the authorities in India, the prime market for owning a piece of Lord’s, have concerns about the currency. Rifkind started the sale earlier this year after MCC members voted unanimously to reject his residential development Morley Plan at the Nursery End funding the new Compton and Edrich stands.

Property developer Charles Rifkind had hoped to fund the public purchase of the tunnels he owns under the Nursery End at Lord's by bitcoin 

Property developer Charles Rifkind had hoped to fund the public purchase of the tunnels he owns under the Nursery End at Lord's by bitcoin 

Property developer Charles Rifkind had hoped to fund the public purchase of the tunnels he owns under the Nursery End at Lord’s by bitcoin 

Sheffield Wednesday fans will not be able to hear local commentaries of their matches on BBC this season after the club failed to agree a deal with the Beeb, who wanted the club to take a 10 per cent reduction in fees. 

Wednesday is the only one out of 62 clubs whose commentary contracts were up for renewal not to negotiate a deal.

Even members of the Everton board have no prior knowledge whether Alisher Usmanov will divert the £550million from selling his shares in Arsenal to Goodison Park — owned by his business partner Farhad Moshiri and where he is long said to be a major influence. 

But it also cannot be rejected out of hand that Usmanov might be getting out of Arsenal at this time because of the increasing Government pressures here on Russian oligarchs following the Salisbury nerve agent attack.

Meanwhile, Arsenal estimate that the fees and expenses expected to be incurred by the club from Stan Kroenke’s buyout is £625,000.

Alisher Usmanov may divert £550million from selling his shares in Arsenal to Goodison Park

Alisher Usmanov may divert £550million from selling his shares in Arsenal to Goodison Park

Alisher Usmanov may divert £550million from selling his shares in Arsenal to Goodison Park



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