London Irish have implied they may take legal action against Gallagher Premiership rivals Gloucester, over the signing of George Skivington. Skivington, heretofore the forwards coach at London Irish, was confirmed as Gloucester’s new head coach yesterday.
Skivington had a year to run on his London Irish contract, and the club claim that Gloucester breached protocol by approaching Skivington without first notifying London Irish management.
A statement released by London Irish reads: “London Irish Chief Executive Brian Facer says that the club will reserve the right to consider all its options following Gloucester’s announcement regarding the appointment of George Skivington as their new Head Coach.
“The news from Kingsholm comes despite Skivington being under contract with London Irish until summer 2021 and there having been no approach – whether informal or formal – from Gloucester’s management to London Irish’s management requesting permission to talk to the former England Saxon.
“Skivington has been forwards coach at Hazelwood since retiring as a player in 2016, helping guide the Exiles team to two promotions from the Championship and latterly re-establishing London Irish as a force to be reckoned with in the Gallagher Premiership.
“He is highly regarded by both the London Irish players and Director of Rugby Declan Kidney, Head Coach Les Kiss and the club’s other coaches.”
However, Facer says that it appears that Premiership Rugby protocols have been broken regarding the inducement of coaches currently under contract.
“To say we are disappointed with Gloucester’s announcement is an understatement,” Facer commented.
“George is well liked and respected at Hazelwood, and it is understandable that we would not want to lose him, especially so close to the resumption of play after the lockdown. We also know that he is an ambitious young man who would relish the opportunity of being the Head Coach of a club someday.
“However, the protocols are clear that a club must be approached in writing when there are more than six months remaining on the relevant contract, regardless of whether it is a player or coach.
“George is under contract with London Irish until June 2021 and has not served us with the required notice period, nor have the terms of his contract been breached. More importantly, at no point have we received any proactive communication whatsoever from Gloucester.
“We therefore believe that Gloucester have breached the Premiership Rugby Code of Conduct regarding inducement and approaches to a contracted player, member of coaching staff and other contracted person.
“This is a most serious issue so, accordingly, we are reserving our rights to consider all our options under the Premiership Rugby governance protocols and other avenues of redress.”
Skivington is set to take over on July 3rd.
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