Rugby Union: IB rap for Twickenham

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ENGLISH RUGBY was back in hot water last night when the International Rugby Board's chief executive, Steve Baines, accused the Rugby Football Union of "disregard for sentiments clearly expressed by every other member of the council."

At last week's hearing in Dublin the RFU was fined pounds 60,000 as a result of the English clubs involvement in the Anglo-Welsh fixtures and Twickenham's failure to implement the IB's regulations.

Baines said last night: "It is a sad day when a founder member shows such disregard for sentiments clearly expressed by every other member of the IB council. The comments made after last week's disciplinary proceedings only emphasise that divide."

An IB statement had said: "The RFU's current attitudes appear to be out of step with those of its fellow members of the IB council." And Baines added: "Disciplinary proceedings related to the cross border matches between League One clubs and Cardiff and Swansea. They also related to the failure of the RFU to abide by their assurance of unequivocal support of the IB in opposing English First Division Rugby Clubs' European complaint challenging the IB and the RFU regulations.

"The proceedings were not about the RFU's failure to secure the withdrawal of the clubs' complaint to Brussels." Though the IB insisted that it wanted to work with the RFU, the world governing body has an option to suspend the RFU from the IB and from Test matches. It is now certain that the RFU will refuse to accept the pounds 60,000 fine and that the conflict will move from the committee rooms to the law courts.