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'There's work to do': RFU appoints head of diversity and inclusion

By Kim Ekin
(Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)

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The RFU has appointed its first head of diversity and inclusion, bringing in Jatin Patel with the aim of evolving and driving strategy across the four strategic pillars of gameplay, fans/followers/partners, employee and board and game leadership via multi-year action plans, key events, ongoing awareness and education and advocacy for positive change.

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As an inclusion, diversity, social equality and advocacy professional, Patel has experience working across the private and charity sectors ­- most recently with the international law firm, DLA Piper – with specific expertise in social and racial equality, communication campaigns and public and organisational policy.

Sue Day, the RFU COO/CFO and executive lead for diversity and inclusion, said: “We are pleased to welcome Jatin as the RFU’s first head of diversity and inclusion. His appointment demonstrates our ongoing commitment to increasing diversity in our sport and ensuring it is open and inclusive to all.

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“The RFU has a clear strategic objective to drive rugby union in England to reflect the diversity of society and we will be able to draw on Jatin’s wealth of experience in realising our aims.”

Patel added: “I’m delighted to have joined the RFU and will be supporting all areas of the organisation and the game in becoming more inclusive, making the most of the talent we have and could have, to ensure we create an environment that allows people to feel that rugby is open to them.

“I was introduced to the game at school and continued playing socially through to university. The values of the game, particularly respect and enjoyment, have stuck with me and I believe it is in promoting and extending these values that the RFU can expand on the work to date and drive rugby towards becoming more inclusive. There is work to do, but there is a solid foundation to go forward from and I am looking forward to getting stuck in.”

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After publishing the RFU’s diversity and inclusion action plan in June the RFU council and its nominations committee ran a recruitment process to co-opt four new members on to the council to bring greater diversity into its ranks and build a more inclusive culture within the game’s leadership, as prioritised in the plan.

The newly appointed co-opted members are Garnet Mackinder, Roxy Fearon, Yemi Gbajobi and Matthew Webb. They have been co-opted to the council for a fixed term until July 31, 2023. The recruitment process attracted interest from over 70 candidates and the RFU council intends to ask them to consider other roles within the game.

  • Click here for the RFU’s diversity and inclusion action plan

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