Rugby: Brittle retaliates by calling SGM
Brittle's relations with his own colleagues on the governing body's negotiating team were in tatters after John Richardson, the RFU president, issued a statement condemning the Isle of Man businessman's implacable opposition to a peace deal agreed by both sides before Christmas.
Richardson signalled his own determination to complete a formal agreement with the clubs this week, whether Brittle likes it or not. He will put the proposed settlement before the full RFU committee tomorrow and, if he wins approval, will put pen to paper on Friday.
With the two remaining members of the four-man RFU negotiating team - Tony Hallett, the secretary, and Colin Herridge, the treasurer - also in favour of a conciliatory approach, Brittle was left in a minority of one last night.
He reacted by calling for a Special General Meeting of all 2,000 affiliated clubs to debate further the issue of control of the domestic game. He needs the support of 100 clubs to make the SGM happen and, given his power base among the grass roots, there is little doubt that he will obtain the necessary backing. But it smacked of gesture politics; any attempt to throw more fuel on the dying embers of a dispute that has already caused serious damage to the fabric of the game in England could well prove futile.
Last night, it emerged that Brittle attempted to force a postponement of the England team announcement for this weekend's Calcutta Cup match with Scotland, pending a further round of talks with the clubs. Richardson, almost white with anger, said: "I believe that would have been a huge public relations disaster. We would have been pilloried by our committee, the RFU, the public and the press because it would have been perceived that we were using the players as pawns."
Yesterday, the clubs boycotted an emergency meeting called by Brittle at the East India Club in St James' Square. Indeed, the executive chairman was the only man who turned up. Insiders from Epruc, the clubs' umbrella organisation, claimed Brittle's intransigence had cost him the support of the few club officials who felt the remotest sympathy for his views.
Diving in at the deep end is no excuse for shirking the style stakes
Latest in Sport
Luke Shaw arrives a week early for Manchester United pre-season training after cutting short post-World Cup holiday
Luis Suarez joins Barcelona: Wilfried Bony, Karim Benzema and the other transfer targets Liverpool should look to replace Suarez with
PornHub begs users to stop uploading video clips of Brazil getting beaten 7-1
Brazil vs Netherlands World Cup 2014: A history of the third-place play-offs
Luis Suarez joins Barcelona: Liverpool and Barca confirm the striker has been sold in £75m, five-year transfer
- 1 Game of Thrones author George RR Martin says 'f*** you' to fans who fear he will die before finishing Westeros saga
- 2 Loom bands: Bids for dress made from colourful rubber pass £170,000 on eBay
- 3 Why I'm on the brink of burning my Israeli passport
- 4 L'Oreal cuts ties with Belgium supporter Axelle Despiegelaere after hunting trip photographs
- 5 The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week
Sustained immigration has not harmed Britons' employment, say government advisers
War is war: Why I stand with Israel
7/7 memorial defaced on anniversary of 2005 attacks with ‘Blair lied thousands died’ graffiti
Australia facing international condemnation after turning around Sri Lankans at sea
Even when it brutalises one of its own teenage citizens, America is helpless against Israel
Socialist Worker called to apologise over ‘vile’ article saying Eton schoolboy Horatio Chapple's death is ‘reason to save the polar bears’
£70000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Information Security Manager (ISO 27001, A...
£30000 - £45000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: C# Developer (...
£60000 - £80000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: C# Integration...
£75000 - £85000 per annum + ex bens: Deerfoot IT Resources Limited: Biztalk Te...