Evans to quit Harlequins

Mark Evans, Harlequins’ chief executive at the time of last year’s ‘Bloodgate’ scandal is to leave his post after 10 years at The Stoop, the English Premiership club has said.


Evans presided over a huge rise in average attendances of 9,000 and was the architect of Quins’ ‘Big Game’ – a Christmas league fixture at the nearby England headquarters at Twickenham – that brought in a crowd of some 77,000.


His feat in building a real community base at a club that had something of a reputation as a home for ‘City slickers’ during rugby union’s amateur era was an impressive achievement.


But former Saracens boss Evans’s time in charge of Quins was marred by the ‘Bloodgate’ affair.


In April last year, Harlequins wing Tom Williams exited the field with a fake blood injury during a European Cup quarter-final against Leinster.


His supposed injury meant a specialist goalkicker was able to come on to the pitch for Harlequins in the dying minutes although Leinster in fact held on to win 6-5.


Harlequins coach and former England No 8 Dean Richards was subsequently banned from all involvement in rugby for three years while Quins physio Steph Brennan was ‘struck off’ in September, a move that effectively deprived him of his livelihood.


Although not found guilty of any wrongdoing himself, Evans faced calls for his resignation as a result of the scandal.


But Quins chairman Malcolm Wall said Thursday: “Mark has been an outstanding CEO for Harlequins for the last 10 years.


“He has led the club from the early, uncertain days of professional rugby and established us as one of the leading lights in the Premiership.”


Evans, who is setting up a sports consultancy business, said: “It has been a privilege to head up Harlequins for the past decade.


“The development of the stadium, crowd growth, training facilities, the Big Game concept, the club finances and academy has hopefully put the club in an excellent position to be consistently successful at the very highest levels in the next few years.


“With an outstanding director of rugby (Conor O’Shea) in place and the infrastructure sound, I feel it is the right time to move on, much though I will miss the people and enjoyment involved in leading such a great club.”

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