Sunday 21 October 2018

England World Cup preparation hit as CEO resigns

Debbie Jevans cited 'personal reasons' for her resignation as chief executive of the Rugby World Cup's organising committee. Photo: Andrew Matthews/PA Wire
Debbie Jevans cited 'personal reasons' for her resignation as chief executive of the Rugby World Cup's organising committee. Photo: Andrew Matthews/PA Wire

Preparations for this year's Rugby World Cup hit a major snag yesterday when Debbie Jevans, the chief executive of the organising committee, resigned, citing "personal reasons".

There had been little indication that Jevans, who was previously director of sport for the London 2012 Olympic organisers, was close to a departure; however, she conceded in an interview this week that the role was different from the one she took on at London 2012 in that "the buck does stop with you".

Stephen Brown, the Rugby Football Union's financial director, will take over Jevans' responsibilities less than six months before the start of the tournament. He has been appointed managing director.

The timing of Jevans' departure is odd, given that in the same interview on Monday, she spoke of the "fantastic feeling and momentum" gained by the World Cup after the Six Nations, which culminated in Ireland taking the trophy at the end of a thrilling final day.

A statement from England Rugby 2015 said: "Debbie Jevans CBE has decided to resign as chief executive due to personal reasons.

"Debbie has been at the helm of the Rugby World Cup organising committee since October 2012, and leaves with a highly experienced event delivery executive team in place, with plans for the tournament in excellent shape.

"All aspects of tournament preparations are on or ahead of schedule, with over 1.9 million tickets sold to date."

Jevans, a former Wimbledon junior champion, said: "This is the right decision for me to make at this time. I am immensely proud of the team and all that we have achieved in the time that I have been chief executive.

"Everything is in place to ensure that this is the best Rugby World Cup ever, and I am confident my team will deliver an exceptional tournament.

"The organisation is strong, there is a great team in place and I am really looking forward to watching the Rugby World Cup as a fan later this year."

Meanwhile, England full-back Mike Brown suffered symptoms of concussion following the Six Nations win over France and will miss his club side Harlequins' match against Saracens today.

Brown felt dizziness at the start of the week after England's 55-35 win over France which left them six points short of overhauling Ireland for the title.

Brown missed England's 19-9 defeat by Ireland in Dublin after failing to recover from concussion having been knocked out during the first half of the victory over Italy at Twickenham. (© Independent News Service)

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