Six days after several women within the organization spoke out against the sexist culture there, Welsh Rugby Union (WRU) chief executive Steve Phillips has stepped down, the WRU announced on Sunday (January 29th).
“Phillips attended the meeting on setting up a working group” announced on Friday to investigate sexist, racist or homophobic behavior within the federation, “but he has since come to the conclusion that he can no longer be the person at the helm of Welsh rugby”explains the press release.
Phillips was not personally charged with any charges, but he said in the statement that he was “come to the conclusion that now is the time for someone else to show the way”.
“I am completely in tune with Ieuan’s commitment [Evans, le président du conseil d’administration de la WRU] for a re-examination and improvement of our culture and behaviors at the federation and I give my full support to the new independent working group. I am happy to have been able to initiate this process at WRU,” he added.
Nigel Walker, who until then was director of performance at the federation, has been appointed interim director general.
“Did I really hear that?” »
Last Monday, several women, including Charlotte Wathan, then director of women’s rugby at the WRU, had testified to the sexist words or behavior of which they had been victims for years, in a BBC program.
A man, at the Welsh training center in Glamorgan in 2019, “said he wanted to rape me. Take me back to the hotel, tie me to the bed and rape me”Wathan had said, adding: “I remember being sick from it, like after being punched in the stomach. I remember being in shock and thinking to myself “Did I really hear that?”. “Everyone laughedshe continued. I left the room and burst into tears.
A former WRU employee, interviewed on condition of anonymity by the BBC, even claimed to have written a memo in 2018 for her husband in case she committed suicide following sexist harassment.