Rugby officials tackled on `sex bias'

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The Independent Online
A female rugby official locked in a sex discrimination battle with the English Rugby Football Union scored a legal victory yesterday.

Beverley Davis, 35, claimed that her hopes of becoming the first woman on the RFU's general committee were being undermined by the Union questioning whether its rule 17 would bar her.

The protests of Mrs Davis, from Cornwall, were accepted by Judge Bishop at Brentford County Court yesterday and she gained an injunction restraining RFU officials from raising such doubts until after she has stood for election.

Mrs Davis is already secretary of Helston rugby club in Cornwall and wants to stand for election as the county's representative on the RFU's national general committee later this year. The court, in west London, heard that an official from the Union wrote to the Cornish RFU last year calling into doubt whether women can sit on the committee.

This letter was picked up by the newspapers and Mrs Davis claimed it meant that rugby clubs in the county would be worried that a vote for her would be a wasted vote.

"I'm not prepared to be disadvantaged because I am female," said Mrs Davis, who is standing against six male candidates in the election.