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Sport Wales chair sacked by Welsh government

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Paul Thomas, who was appointed chair of Sport Wales last April, has been sacked by the Welsh government less than a year after taking the role.

Vice chair Adele Baumgardt has also been told by minister for social care and public health Rebecca Evans that her services are no longer required, and that the sports quango needs “fresh leadership”.

The positions of Thomas and Baumgardt have been under the microscope for some time. The pair were suspended, alongside the rest of the Sport Wales board, in November after Evans revealed “a significant breakdown of some interpersonal relationships”.

While the rest of the board was reinstated in February, Thomas and Baumgardt will not be returning.

In a statement made by Evans, she said: “I have today informed the chair and vice chair of Sport Wales that I consider the need to secure fresh leadership to be necessary to restoring a well functioning board going forward. I have therefore informed both the chair, Dr Thomas, and the vice chair, Adele Baumgardt, that I am terminating their appointments with notice.

"While both individuals have had the interests of sport in Wales as their priority, and have exhibited energy and dedication, I consider there to have been an irretrievable breakdown in relationships within the leadership of the board of Sport Wales.”

However, Thomas told BBC Wales that the government had “hung him out to dry” after he had highlighted issues within the organisation, and said that he had not been backed to turn things around.

"How do they expect to attract people like me, from the business community, to work with them if this is how they treat people", he said.

Thomas joined Sport Wales on a three-year term 11 months ago.

In an interview with Sports Management shortly after his appointment, Thomas revealed that he would be presiding over the organisation’s new strategy, and discussed his desire to improve facilities and cut bureaucracy within the body.

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Paul Thomas, who was appointed chair of Sport Wales last April, has been sacked by the Welsh government less than a year after taking the role.
Paul Thomas was appointed as Sport Wales chair in April 2016