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Steve Brown to step down as Rugby Football Union chief executive

Resignation comes in the wake of 64 redundancies at Twickenham

RFU chief executive Steve Brown wants to make England more accessible

Steve Brown will step down as chief executive of the Rugby Football Union (RFU) at the end of 2018.

His resignation comes just 15 months into the role, having replaced Ian Ritchie in September 2017.

It follows 64 redundancies being made at Twickenham and amid fierce criticism from former chief executive Francis Baron over what he claims is financial mismanagement by the union.

Sky Sports News understands many RFU staff were shocked and saddened Brown's decision, which is understood to be a personal one.

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"This has been a very difficult decision for me to make, and I informed the RFU Board earlier this week that the time is right for me to step down and take some time out," said Brown.

"I've loved my time in rugby, and am deeply proud to have made a contribution to a sport I love."

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Miles Harrison says outgoing chief executive Steve Brown was facing ‘trying financial times’ at the Rugby Football Union (RFU).

Nigel Melville, Professional Rugby director, will act as interim chief executive of the RFU until the position is permanently filled.

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Brown joined the RFU in 2011 and held a number of roles prior to his appointment as CEO, including chief financial officer, chief officer business operations, and managing director of England Rugby 2015.

He "played a key role" in delivering the 2015 World Cup in England, according to RFU chairman Andy Cosslett, who called Brown's resignation a "sad day for the union".

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But just last week Baron, who spent 12 years as chief executive from 1998, said the RFU has "gone from a situation of growing profits to horrendous losses" in a report based on his analysis of the governing body's published accounts dating back to 2000.

The RFU maintained it is on a "sound financial footing".

Brown added: "I am proud of the people who make the union - including our hard-working and committed staff and the brilliant volunteers who make the game. I'm sad to leave, but the union is in good shape, with an excellent leadership team in place.

"I have always been a rugby fan, and always will be, and I wish all our England teams, coaches, and everyone involved with the game at all levels the very best for the future, which looks bright for the English game."

Cosslett added: "Steve's tireless work ethic and selfless attitude has won him the respect of all who know him and the game will be extremely sad to see him go.

"Steve is a good man and a good friend to many of us. He leaves with our very best wishes and our sincere thanks."

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