Cattermole successful as Baister is ousted

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It is hardly seismic, but this morning the Rugby Football Union has a new chairman of its management board after Brian Baister lost to Graeme Cattermole in a straight fight at yesterday's annual meeting in Birmingham.

Cattermole, a former banker and chairman of the finance committee at Twickenham, polled 301 votes to Baister's 199. Unless his position is challenged at next year's or subsequent annual meetings then Cattermole will hold the post for four years.

Baister, who had the support of the Premiership clubs and the bulk of the Twickenham power brokers, had served threequarters of his term of office when Cattermole made his challenge and drummed up an impressive amount of support from the grass roots, as well as the likes of Fran Cotton, in a surprisingly short time.

Whether Cattermole will be viewed by the counties and amateur sections of the governing body of the game in England as a champion of their cause in the battle against the professional game, remains to be seen. But his accession is not expected to affect the delicate and drawn-out negotiations between the clubs and the RFU since he has been on the negotiating team himself. Indeed, it may help to stimulate discussions and accelerate agreement between the two sides.

The NEC was not exactly bulging at the seams with RFU delegates eager to thrash out policies and strategies for the next year – there were around 130 in the hall – which is probably why the in-coming president Roy Manock promised a review of the date and location of future AGMs.

Meanwhile, Derek Morgan was confirmed as senior vice-president and Robert Horner, junior vice-president.