Reputational Pressure On PRL After Racist Remarks

Gallagher Premiership branded ball
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5 April 2019

Premiership Rugby discovered that reputational risk travels both ways between sponsor and rights-holder last week as they squirmed under the pressure brought about by the racist remarks of senior figures at Gallagher – the insurance firm that is also Premiership naming partner.

Transcripts from a high court tribunal revealed that Simon Matson, chief executive of AJ Gallagher International, had used racist language to describe a departing employee.

The court case was brought by Gallagher against rival Ardonagh, which it accused of orchestrating a “carefully planned conspiracy” to poach several staff illegally.

But during the hearing, it emerged that Matson had referred to departing staff member using disparaging and discriminatory terms.

MP and Liberal Democrat leader Vince Cable – who’s constituency covers Twickenham where PRL are based - urged the organisation to review its relationship with Gallagher.

Premiership Rugby has confirmed that its partnership with Gallagher will continue.

Cable said in his letter: “Whatever the rights and wrongs of the case, such awful words from the chief executive of Rugby Premiership’s biggest and most prominent sponsor can only inflict damage on the sport.”

“This disgraceful culture should have been kicked out of Britain’s boardrooms decades ago and it is not Premiership Rugby’s fault that it has found itself in this situation.

“However, for the good of the sport, I urge you to review Premiership Rugby’s relationship with Gallagher immediately.”

A spokesperson for Premiership Rugby highlighted that it expected all of its partners to share its commitment to diversity and inclusion,

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