Council Member’s Report 18 March 2019


Mar 2019

Ladies and Gentlemen,

It has been another busy season and, as we begin the run in to the end of the season, I wish you success in all your endeavours, promotion if possible and otherwise the avoidance of relegation. After what can only be described as a very disappointing Six Nations men’s series, and a resoundingly successful women’s Six Nations; it is nice to have a brief bit of down time before the County Championship season begins, along with Leicestershire competitions, and to have the chance to provide some notes and thoughts from the meetings I have attended in the last few months

Thank you to all those clubs and committee members that extended hospitality to me and welcomed me at their clubs so far this season and to all those that, I hope, will continue to do so in what’s left of the season. I shall continue to do my utmost to support and assist all Leicestershire clubs and to support the interests of the County as a whole; going forward I would very much like to be invited to club committee meetings, as an observer (and in confidence), so that I can get more of a feel for the particular problems and concerns of your individual clubs

This season I have continued to work on the Governance Standing Committee and the Diversity & Inclusion Working Group at Twickenham as well as having been asked to form a small working group to report to Governance on Rules revision. These committees are in addition to those which I attend in Leicestershire; the Executive Committee, Operating Committee, PFR Group and other ad hoc groups. I was also very pleased to join the group of Mentors working with RFU Leadership Academy candidates

I continue to take every available opportunity to support County sides and to visit local clubs at weekends to watch games and chat to committee members and club members alike. I watched a convincing win by the U20s against Oxfordshire yesterday and look forward to their next match, at home, on 311 March. Please look out for me and make yourselves known and, if you’d like me to come to a match, a meeting or some other function or you require my assistance in any way, please feel free to contact me and do let me know as early as possible

Once again, this season I have been holding my free ‘Bar in the Car’ sessions at home internationals. I am pleased to say that numbers have increased, and several clubs have been represented. It has been great to see everyone


By now you will all be aware of the financial strictures within the RFU and the redundancies that were seen through last Summer. I am afraid that there are further cuts to come in Community Game funding next season; the Community Game Board warned the last Council Meeting

that these were necessary to live within budget. It is important to note, however, that funding will nonetheless remain at 2012 levels and that there will still be £34.3 million investment in Rugby Development in the coming season.

The AGP legacy project has already been suspended whilst funding for both the Leadership Academy and Leadership in Union will be paused and reviewed. The £2 million funding to the DPP is also under review

Cuts are likely in some or all the following areas:

  1. CB PFR funding – this is likely to vary in amount from CB to CB depending upon club numbers in membership
  2. Facilities
  3. Level 3-5 match officials
  4. Competitions management
  5. Investment games (schools, students, RFU Cups, County Championships)
  6. Aspirational teams
  7. Senior and U20s County Championships
  8. Game development
  9. Education development
  10. Club development
  11. Rugby growth
  12. PGA (Project Rugby)
  13. Travel Funding – Clubs at Level 7 and below will be protected. Those at Levels 6 and above will see funding cut on a sliding scale

Talks with the Premiership are ongoing to see whether agreement can be reached to divert the £500,000 funding for Project Rugby to mitigate the effects of cuts within Community Rugby

The hope expressed by the CGB is that after a season of cuts to funding in 2019/20, 2020/21 will be a level funding season with 2021/22 seeing a return to funding increases

Payment of Players

As you will be aware new regulations stipulate that clubs will have to sign and submit declarations regarding payments to players. This information will be in the public domain and therefore visible to all other clubs. Clubs should also be aware that HMRC are now actively targeting rugby clubs and looking very closely at payments and other benefits that players receive, whether from within the club or outside


I attended a meeting on Saturday morning with Jon Conn, the RFU IT Director. The following are the headlines from that meeting:

  • There are currently 2.1 million player entries on GMS, though only 30% of those are valid
  • GMS doesn’t currently validate email addresses. 860,000 entries have no email address. One club has entered all 1002 registrations with the same generic club email address
  • Its important that clubs and the RFU move towards season on season improvement so that GMS can begin to be a far more reliable and effective tool
  • Electronic match cards e.g. are starting to provide useful data: we know that 42,000 players have played so far this season. They will begin to give us data on age group ranges and numbers of games played by e.g. individuals, and clubs
  • The aspiration is for individual layers, clubs and CBs to have access to data
  • A staged digital refresh designed in conjunction with IBM will unroll over the next few months and website improvements should be evident

RFU Council

Council has been considering a variety of issues:

  • A Code of Conduct and Discipline Process for Council Members
  • Movement to mandatory Safeguarding training for staff, at three levels and the introduction of an element of Safeguarding Training for coaches to the Clubs’ Accreditation process
  • Discipline team reports that, going forward, it is now clear that the ball carrier is as vulnerable to a red card for a high contact e.g. from a leading arm to the head, as is the tackler
  • A proposal from Women’s Rugby around the constitution of the Tyrells Premiership for next season was rejected and sent back for reconsideration since it sought in part to ringfence the league; not a topically popular idea at the moment
  • The AGR half-game rule has been approved as mandatory from next season
  • The Transgender Policy has been approved. To put this in context, there have been around twenty applications to the RFU so far this season from players wishing to play in a gender category different to their birth gender. There was one enquiry from a Leicestershire club, made through me

These are just headlines and notes, to give a full briefing on all that is in progress would take many hours and more pages. If you have any specific interests or concerns, please feel free to contact me

Peter A Howard

RFU Council Member for Leicestershire

Please feel free to contact me for any advice or assistance on 07912 057919 / 01858 555101 or by email at

You can also follow me on Facebook and on Twitter at  @LRURep      

My calendar for the rest of the season:

Date                       Event                                                            Notes    
19 March 2019 Leadership Academy mentor’s meeting Holiday Inn, Corby 1830 hours
20 March LRU SGM and Clubs’ meeting Belgrave RFC 1900 hours
26 March RFU Nominations Committee interview Twickenham 1100 hours
Dennis Belton’s funeral Loughborough Crematorium 1445 hours
31 March Leicestershire U20s Syston RFC TBC
7 April Leicestershire Boys U17s v Lancashire Away TBC
12 April RFU Council meeting Twickenham
LSRUR Annual Dinner LFC, Welford Road
15 April RFU Diversity & Inclusion Working Group Twickenham 1030 hours
LRU PFR meeting LRU Offices 1900 hours
26-28 April Leicestershire Women ats Warwickshire Away TBC
1 May RFU Governance Standing Committee Twickenham 0900 hours
3-5 May Leicestershire Women v Staffordshire Home TBC
4 May Leicestershire Men v Staffordshire Home TBC
10-12 May Leicestershire Women ats Cheshire Away TBC
11 May Leicestershire Men ats Warwickshire Away TBC
18 May Leicestershire Men v East Midlands Home TBC
23 May LRU Executive Committee meeting LRU Offices 1830 hours
3 June LRU PFR sub-committee meeting LRU Offices 1830 hours
14 June RFU Council and AGM Central London 1000 hours
19 June RFU Governance Standing Committee Twickenham 0900 hours
26 June LRU AGM Belgrave RFC 1900 hours