‘Toxic’ Welsh Rugby Union is accused of sexism, racism and homophobia

‘Toxic’ Welsh Rugby Union is accused of sexism, racism and homophobia as ex-boss reveals she was ‘contemplating suicide’ after colleague ‘said he wanted to rape her’

  • Investigations into the Welsh Rugby Union have revealed a number of allegations
  • The most shocking thing is that a worker says in front of others that he wanted to ‘rape’ another

The Welsh Rugby Union is facing accusations of a toxic culture of sexism and discrimination after a series of worrying incidents, including one employee who stated he wanted to ‘rape’ another.

A number of former WRU employees have taken part in an investigation and made allegations about their time with the governing body.

Charlotte Wathan, women’s rugby general manager until her resignation last February, claims a colleague’s abusive comments left her in tears and sickened.

Another unnamed contributor says she thought about suicide because of her experiences of bullying and sexism at work.

Charlotte Wathan was managing director of women’s rugby until her resignation last February

The Welsh Rugby Union is facing accusations of a toxic culture of sexism and discrimination in research

The Welsh Rugby Union is facing accusations of a toxic culture of sexism and discrimination in research

The allegations are aired in a BBC Wales Investigates program, which also includes claims of racism and homophobia.

Another former female WRU employee, a mother of one, said she wrote a manual for her husband in case she committed suicide.

They have left MP and former Wales international Tonia Antoniazzi voicing “deep concerns” about the country’s women’s game.

The WRU said an “out-of-court settlement” had been reached with Wathan “satisfying both sides” following an investigation by an outside law firm. It said a confidentiality agreement between the parties prevented further details.

MP Tonia Antoniazzi, who once played for Wales as a prop, said she was concerned about claims

MP Tonia Antoniazzi, who once played for Wales as a prop, said she was concerned about claims

It noted that another complaint had been investigated and subsequently withdrawn, while any new information in the broadcast would be “followed up and acted upon”.

A spokesman said: ‘The Welsh Rugby Union condemns the use of racist, homophobic or sexist language and states in the strongest possible terms that racism, homophobic, sexist or bullying behavior has no place in Welsh rugby.’

A statement continued: ‘It is vital to note that as employers we have a duty of care to both the complainants and those against whom the complaint has been made.

“That duty of care remains and we are deeply concerned about the effect of this program on those individuals, given that the allegations described remain unfounded after a thorough independent legal investigation.”

But Antoniazzi, who once played prop for Wales and now represents the Gower constituency and serves as Labour’s shadow minister for Northern Ireland, remains concerned about the testimony.

She compared the evidence to the racism scandal that hit cricket following Azeem Rafiq’s allegations against Yorkshire, and believes an independent body may be needed to hold Welsh sporting establishments accountable.

“This is consistent with what has happened in cricket. I am very, very concerned about the future of women’s rugby in Wales,” she told the BBC.

“An independent body should be set up to look at complaints from… all complaints if there are problems within governing bodies, sports governing bodies in Wales. There’s got to be somewhere to go.’

In response to those comments, the WRU said: ‘With regard to the comments made by Tonia Antoniazzi’s MP, the WRU invites the Labor MP for Gower to make direct contact on the issues she raises and would would like the opportunity to discuss her concerns.”

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