With his offer to help revive rugby union rejected, AOC boss Matt Carroll says he’s sad for the game and that Rugby Australia board leaks aren’t helping.
Part of rugby’s glory days, would-be Rugby Australia chief executive Matt Carroll says he’s “sad” for the ailing state of the game.
One of Australia’s most experienced sports administrators, Carroll on Saturday lashed the RA board for their poor governance and said in his 30 years he’d never encountered confidentiality leaks like it.
A two-time deputy Rugby AU CEO to John O’Neill, former NSWRU boss and general manager of 2003 World Cup, Carroll offered to return to RA from his position as the Australian Olympic Committee chief executive.
The plan, put together by then board member Peter Wiggs, involved Carroll being parachuted into the position, alongside him as chairman.
However, the RA board rejected the idea, unhappy that due recruitment process wouldn’t be followed.
That resulted in Carroll withdrawing his interest to replace Raelene Castle and Wiggs also walking away.
Speaking after the AOC annual general meeting on Saturday, Carroll was upset his integrity had been questioned.
“I think it was terribly unfortunate that there was some suggestion that my friendship with Peter Wiggs had any sort of problems because I played rugby with hundreds of people over the years and I consider quite a lot of them friends,” Carroll told AAP.
“Peter and I never had any business dealings or business connections whatsoever – we were in two totally different worlds, it’s just that I have great respect for his ability and he has great respect for mine.
“It was the combination of his business ability and my sports administration ability that would be proposed to the executive.”
Carroll said the only governance issue lay with RA, with repeated leaks meaning the media broke news of his offer before he had a chance to tell the AOC.
“The most unfortunate thing was that we were told that it wasn’t good governance, but then I think board confidentiality is probably the best governance practice,” he said.
“The leaks from the Rugby Australia board…I’ve never in my entire life of sports administration experienced it, and I’ve experienced a lot of boards, so that was terribly unfortunate.”
Rob Clarke has now stepped in interim chief executive, trying to steer the game out its dire financial situation and also secure a broadcaster beyond 2020.
Former Channel Ten boss Hamish McLennan is likely to step into the chair role.
Carroll wished the sport well as it scrambled for survival.
“I want them to succeed and it’s very sad where the sport has got to,” he said.
“There’s a lot of decisions made by boards that have gone wrong but they seem to be constructing a new board which is great, I wish them well.”