A plea for transparency from the ARU
ARU chief executive John O'Neill (right) speaks with Wallabies coach Robbie Deans following a press conference at the team hotel (AAP Image/Dave Hunt)
Would every rugby supporter in Australia please raise their hand if they feel there is any transparency in the management of their favourite sport?
After all the feedback and online comments are analysed, the core issue with rugby this side of the ditch is fundamentally a lack of transparency.
All the most important decisions are taken in secret by people who obviously feel they know what is best for the sport in Australia.
Problem with that operating model is, that based on the performance of the Wallabies over the past 10 years, it simply doesn’t work.
The time has come for fundamental change.
If you consider that the ARU is the equivalent of a public company owned by its shareholders, then it should be run along the lines of a public company with a far greater level of transparency and a far greater focus on giving the shareholders a great return.
Now we can take a stab and list what the shareholders in Australian rugby would define as a decent return and it would likely be a focus on financial strength, player and coaching talent development and a reasonable level of match wins.
So if those three areas of return are reasonable measures then how would we rate our satisfaction as shareholders ?
Here are my suggested ratings:
1. Financial strength – average (at best). The general state of the ARU and Super Rugby franchise balance sheets is not great. This lack of financial firepower has to limit the extent of investment in the game.
2. Player and coaching strength – below average (at best). Based on how Aussie Super Rugby franchises haven’t figured in the finals in recent years, and certainly this year. Add in the Wallabies’ below par performances and importantly how the ARU allowed our potential national coaching talent to dwindle to such an extent that a New Zealander was selected as the Wallabies coach.
3. Reasonable match performance/wins – below average (at best). Obviously can’t be high based on the overall performance at Super Rugby and national level in the past 10 years.
So, my fellow shareholders, what are we going to do about this situation?.
Shall we all attend the ARU AGM (if there was one) and cast our votes on which director and CEO contracts are renewed?
Shall we boycott matches played on Australian soil until our genuine concerns and wishes are acted on?
Shall we vote with our pockets and sell our ARU shares and buy NZRU or SARU shares?
Rugby shareholders in Australia are not happy, haven’t been for a long time.
Maybe it’s time for a shareholders revolt?
Wallabes vs Wales - Scott Allen's match highlights -