Keep Your Nose out, Glanmor Tells Rhodri; RUGBY: WRU Chairman Reveals He Still Wants Powerful Role in New Structure

Article excerpt

Byline: TOBY MASON Welsh Affairs Editor

THE most powerful man in Welsh rugby issued a stern ``keep out'' warning yesterday to the nation's political leader.

Welsh Rugby Union chairman Glanmor Griffiths's comment after the WRU general committee's victory over the recommendations of WRU president Sir Tasker Watkins's working party was a clear indication of his fury over First Minister Rhodri Morgan's call for the entire committee to step aside.

Mr Morgan had intervened in the debate to say the modest proposals for change which would see the general committee slimmed down but not abolished were not enough to halt the decline in Welsh rugby.

Mr Griffiths said, ``It's for Rhodri Morgan to keep out of Welsh rugby, quite frankly.

``He shoots from the hip all the time, doesn't he? But at the end of the day I wish he would recognise the cash injection the WRU needs at the moment and he needs to look at providing the shortfall in funding on the river walk of pounds 4m and give us business rate relief on the stadium, which is currently pounds 1.2m a year.''

Mr Griffiths indicated that he would still play a significant role in the organisation behind the scenes.

He said he would stand for an extremely powerful finance role as a national representative on the new board of directors, which would ensure that he kept his hands on the purse strings of the WRU and the Millennium Stadium.

``I don't intend to step down,'' he said. ``I intend to step back and leave the day-to-day running of the business to the chief executive and the executive board.''

At a press conference, he attacked the media for an ``orchestrated campaign'' against him which damaged both the union and him personally, adding that the changes approved at Sunday's meeting were equally as radical as those proposed by Sir Tasker's working group.

The 239 member clubs voted in favour of a structure still dominated by the general committee, albeit renamed a board of directors, with a group chief executive. …