CARDIFF, Wales (AP)The head of the Welsh Rugby Union expressed his dismay Tuesday at allegations of racist, homophobic and sexist bullying within his organization, saying there will be a review of practices and immediate changes.
A number of former WRU employees took part in an investigation by the BBC that included accusations about their time at the governing body.
Charlotte Wathan, general manager of women’s rugby until her resignation last February, said offensive comments by a colleague left her in tears and feeling sick. Incidents of bullying, sexism and racism are also alleged.
”Our culture was not where it needed to be, when we have employees not feeling confident enough to speak up between 2017 and 2019,” WRU chief executive Steve Phillips said in a statement.
”Following this program we will, again, review the process and procedures we have in place to make sure all staff feel safe and supported in speaking up about anything that makes them feel uncomfortable. The WRU knows it has fallen short in presenting Welsh rugby to the world in the best light. We have fallen short of the high standards I expect.”
Principality Building Society, the sponsor of Wales’ national stadium in Cardiff and a supporter of the Welsh grassroots game, described the allegations as ”extremely concerning.”
Cardiff Rugby, one of the four professional regions, condemned ”the reported culture within our national governing body” and said it was ”distressed and appalled” by the allegations.”
Phillips’ position is under intense scrutiny.
”I cannot turn back the clock,” he said, ”but I promise you we will start work on making necessary changes immediately.
”I will not lead an organization which would walk past or excuse any of the behavior described. I will not stand by and watch a culture which falls below the high standards we set.”
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