The Welsh Rugby Union (WRU) has said it is “truly sorry” after an independent review found parts of the organisation to be racist, sexist and homophobic.
A BBC programme in January reported allegations against the WRU and prompted a review the following month to investigate the claims.
The report was published on Tuesday and found there to be a “toxic” culture at the WRU that involved bullying and discrimination, as well as racist, sexist, homophobic and misogynistic elements.
The organisation was found to be unfit for purpose and “unforgiving, even vindictive”, while the report made 36 recommendations designed to counter the damning findings, which the WRU accepted, while also apologising to those affected.
In a statement, new WRU chair Richard Collier-Keywood said: “I want to start by saying again that on behalf of the whole WRU, we are truly sorry to those who have been impacted by the systems, structures and conduct described in the report which are simply not acceptable.
“As the report outlines, the WRU is an iconic institution which reflects society across Wales and plays a vital role in our national public life. We have let people down. We have to do better and we will.
“For anyone who cares about rugby in Wales it is a very difficult read and it is a particularly difficult read if you work at the WRU. It is clear that there were many opportunities to avert the serious problems described which were simply not taken.
WRU Independent Review published
New Welsh Rugby Union chair Richard Collier-Keywood, incoming Group CEO Abi Tierney (who joins in January 2024) and interim CEO Nigel Walker have welcomed in full the publication today of the Independent Review which was commissioned in February…
— Welsh Rugby Union 🏴 (@WelshRugbyUnion) November 14, 2023
“We have a lot of work to do to win back the trust of our staff, our players, the volunteers who are the heart of our community game, and the supporters that buy tickets week in week out.
“This report goes some way to show us what we need to do to earn back that trust. And with the oversight body in place, it will help us navigate the journey we need to take.”
Abi Tierney, set to take over as the WRU’s CEO in January, added: “The review’s report is incredibly humbling and describes issues, actions and attitudes that are hugely regrettable. They should not exist in our, nor any, workplace.
“Of course, as leaders of the organisation, we will all wholeheartedly condemn the attitudes and issues described, but we are equally aware that our response needs to be greater than this.
“We will implement all of the recommendations the independent review panel has made. My colleagues have committed to doing this and I commit to doing this too.
“But we will also go deeper than this. We will take what the review has found to heart and not only fix the issues identified but also to build a culture and values that we can all be proud of. We will do this together.”