Heledd Fychan MS, Plaid Cymru’s spokesperson on sport has said that “it’s abundantly clear” that Welsh Government could have done “much, much more” to act on allegations over sexism and misogyny in the Welsh Rugby Union (WRU).
Ms Fychan’s comments follow a scrutiny session in a Senedd Committee today (Thursday 2 February) of the Welsh Government over allegations surrounding the WRU.
During the scrutiny session, Dawn Bowden MS confirmed that she had been aware of issues raised by Labour MP Tonia Antoniazzi in a letter received on 9 May 2022, and confirmed that the letter referred to “sexism and misogyny, which I think had been widely known within the WRU …probably going back 20 years.”
When pushed by Ms Fychan during the Committee meeting over whether there was regret that public action wasn’t taken sooner, Ms Bowden said “I did what I could in the best way I could with the powers that were available to me as Government Minister.”
Ms Fychan responded by listing the options available to the Minister, such as making a Written Statement, raising the matter in Plenary, or bringing the issue to the Culture, Communications, Welsh Language, Sport, and International Relations Committee – none of which were taken by the Minister at the time.
Plaid Cymru’s spokesperson for sport and culture, Heledd Fychan MS said,
“Welsh Government have today confirmed that issues of sexism and misogyny were known about for decades in Welsh rugby, so the question has to be why decisive action wasn’t taken until these issues were aired in a BBC programme?
“The Minister talks about ‘constraints’ of the allegations not being in the public domain, but this simply isn’t true – there were quite horrific complaints in the public domain from last summer.
“The Minister has had ample opportunities to make a written statement, or raise these issues in Committee but a choice was made to stay silent, and the Minister must now explain why.”