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The Independent Online
From Mr G Collyer

Sir: When a company issues shares under false pretences, the board, or at least the executive members, are given at best a hard time by the shareholders, or at worst, lose their jobs.

Whatever the rights and wrongs of the dispute between the Rugby Football Union and the other home unions, if England are to be eliminated from competition with Scotland, Wales and Ireland for the next 10 years, perhaps the rugby powers can use some of the spare pounds 87.5m to reimburse all those England rugby supporters who have bought debentures at Twickenham over the past couple of years. Money lovingly given, in return for an annual interest payment of hard, competitive rugby, against the traditional enemy, not just a series of non-competitive exhibition games against aspiring nations.

I suggest a refund of about one-third would be appropriate, given the scale of the loss of genuine international competition. This may also provide some compensation for that body of English support which is now going to be deprived of enjoyable annual trips to away fixtures.

Alternatively, like any management team that has taken money under false pretences, it could do the decent thing and resign. Such falling on swords is sadly a rare feature these days, but it would be some, if scant, compensation for quite simply failing to deliver the promise of an annual feast of rugby.


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