Carling apologetic

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The Independent Online
Will Carling has apologised for describing the Rugby Football Union as "57 old farts". The England captain and Rob Andrew criticised the sport's ruling body and its reluctance to embrace professionalism on Channel 4's Fair Game programme on Thursday night.

However, last night he attempted to make his peace with the authorities by issuing a statement. "The comment was not made to camera and was not a quote I would like to be remembered for," he said. "I hope the members of the committee will not take offence. But, if I have offended any members, I apologise unreservedly and would like them to know I will not allow myself to be put in this situation again."

Carling's apology is expected to remove the threat of disciplinary action by the RFU.

Tony Hallett, due to become the RFU secretary in July, said earlier: "I am sure Will's comments will be raised in committee next week. It is a pity he made these comments at such a time, as the whole country is trying to get behind England just before they go to South Africa.

"The committee has worked closely with the players all season and we are close to making a significant announcement which will be to their benefit."