Peter FitzSimons has doubled down on his claims that part of the vitriol aimed at Raelene Castle is simply because she’s a woman.
The Embattled Rugby Australia chief executive fell on her sword on Thursday after being told she had lost the support of the board.
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Castle brought to an end her tumultuous 2-1/2 year reign, handing in her resignation to RA chairman Paul McLean.
Discussing Castle’s resignation on ABC News on Friday, FitzSimons said Castle was held to an unfairly higher standard because she’s a woman.
“There has been a lot of commentary to the effect that if she'd gone do Riverview and had captained the first 15 in 1978 she would have been one of them,” FitzSimons said in referrence to the ‘old boys’ club in the rugby community.
“From the moment she took over, there were serious people in the rugby community saying, ‘We can't have a woman in charge.’ There's no doubt about that.
“I go back to, for all the criticism of her, I'm not aware of a terribly wrong move that she made.
“She didn't turn rugby around [but] it's not the fault of Raelene Castle.
“We don't know who's going to take over now. But, for me, it isn't going to be a quick-fire solution. There will be a long time slowly building up again.”
Former Wallaby @Peter_Fitz says Rugby Australia CEO Raelene Castle shouldn't have gone in the manner she did.— News Breakfast (@BreakfastNews) April 23, 2020
And he's questioned a letter written by former Wallaby captains that criticised the governing body.
"It was very long on complaint, and very short on actual solutions." pic.twitter.com/lBe3k8wsS7
The former Wallabies player first made the startling claims on Channel Nine’s Sport Sunday earlier this month.
“If you were to measure the antipathy against Raelene Castle - about a half of it, in my view, is because she’s a woman and there is an in-built discrimination ‘We can't have a woman running rugby’,” FitzSimons said on Sports Sunday.
“I can tell you, in terms of emails I get and what people say to me, there is a lot of people in the rugby community who say, ‘We can't have a woman running rugby’.
“I'm not making it up. That's the truth of it.”
Alan Jones refuted claims of sexism against Castle
However one of Castle’s fiercest critics smacked down that theory on Friday.
After taking a scathing parting shot at the outgoing CEO, Alan Jones said Castle’s gender has nothing to do with it.
“It is insulting to say this is a matter of gender,” Jones said on 2GB Radio.
“It’s got nothing to do with Raelene Castle being a woman. It is totally related to the results and the effectiveness of the performance.”
Jones instead said Castle should never have been appointed in the first place because she simply ‘knows nothing about the game’,
“It’s an appointment that shouldn’t have been made,” Jones said.
“She knows nothing about the game. It’s like putting someone to become the first violinist in the Sydney Symphony Orchestra who can’t read music.”
However the controversial radio host said Castle’s resignation won’t fix anything unless there are more changes.
“This solves absolutely nothing. I have said all along it’s easy to throw Raelene Castle under the bus,” Jones said.
“I can’t imagine anything she has done, whether it’s the bloated expenditure, the ridiculous growth in staff of over 150, the foolish, personal and spiteful attack on Israel Folau, the hopeless performances off the paddock and on the paddock.
“All of these things have been endorsed by the board.
“Now the board have told Raelene Castle, ‘You must go, we need clear air’. You won’t get clear air with the departure of Raelene Castle. The whole kit and caboodle have to go, that’s what the Wallaby captains wrote about.
“And that’s the only way sponsors will return, the public will return, it’s the only way credibility can be regained.”