Australian rugby makes changes to governance
The Australian Rugby Union (ARU) is set for a shake-up to the way it’s governed, with the traditional power base of the game to be dismantled as they look to keep pace with rival codes.
The ARU on Tuesday announced the findings of a governance review by former Federal Sports Minister Mark Arbib.
Rugby’s governing board in Australia will implement 15 recommendations made by Arbib.
Two of the key recommendations enacted from the review conducted are changes to the ARU voting structure and a requirement that all directors on the ARU board are to be independent.
The recommendations will be up for approval by the ARU’s membership at an extraordinary general meeting in December.
Under the current system, votes are mostly controlled by NSW and Queensland who have eight of 14 votes between them for ARU constitutional matters.
But under the new system, there will be one vote for each member union, one for each Super Rugby franchise, one additional for a member union with more than 50,000 players and a vote for the Rugby Union Players’ Association.
ARU chairman Michael Hawker admitted it was time for an overhaul and to have a governance that fairly represented the modern game.
“Our original constitution was in 1949 and we really (only) had NSW and Queenslanders,” Hawker said.
“There was a heavy concentration of NSW and Queensland in the voting on the board and we felt that – as a game we’re spreading more across Australia – that that wasn’t truly representative of the growing game across the country.”
Under the restructure, directors will no longer be nominated by states.
“Currently what happens is various power groups choose our directors … it’s (new system) a more-open process and democratic process and one that goes through a recommendation in the body which is a nominations committee,” Hawker said.
Current board member and chairman of the governance committee Peter Cosgrove admitted changes had to be made to bring the game up to speed off the field.
“With what we are doing here, we recognised the reality that this is a professional game, a national and international game and it must be run in the most business-like way, so that the structure of the board is not only independent but highly professional,” Cosgrove said.
“From our point of view, we have some tremendous advantages and we’ve got to seize them in a crowded sports market. Nobody is going to give us a free ride in Australia – we’ve got to compete strongly.”
The ARU is searching for a replacement to outgoing chief executive John O’Neill, a situation Hawker hopes to have resolved by the end of the year.© AAP 2013