Rugby Union: RFU seek outside help in civil war

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The Independent Online
English rugby's long-running family feud has left the domestic game in such an unholy mess that Twickenham officials have decided to seek support from the four corners of the earth.

The Rugby Football Union, locked in a battle of wills with their own leading clubs, have called an emergency meeting of the International Board, the governing body of the sport worldwide, tomorrow to discuss the latest stalemate. Tony Hallett, the RFU secretary, said yesterday that he and his colleagues wanted to ensure that their stance on distribution of finances, broadcasting rights and other points of conflict with the clubs was in line with IB thinking. The clubs consider that to be a sign of vulnerability in the face of their own attempt to force the issue by putting their case directly to the full RFU committee, a request to which they have yet to receive a reply.

Donald Kerr, chairman of the clubs' umbrella organisation Epruc, said last night: "I think we would like the opportunity to address the IB along with the RFU. We want to emphasise that we are not seeking complete control of the game in England, but a fair and workable agreement with the RFU."

Tony Russ, the Leicester coach, is set to become Waterloo's new director of rugby tomorrow. The Second Division side have offered Russ, who is still in the first year of a five-year coaching contract with Ulster, a pounds 65,000 deal with bonuses.