The ARU have today released the findings and recommendations from the governance review undertaken by the Hon Mark Arbib.
In his review ‘Strengthening the Governance of Australian Rugby’, Arbib noted that despite Rugby’s achievements, it is clear that rugby needs to redefine itself to meet new challenges.
The Australian sporting landscape is arguably the fiercest and most competitive in the world and the major professional sports now find themselves in the mass entertainment business. The billion dollar broadcast deals recently completed by the AFL and Rugby League are an example of just how high the stakes have become for sport in this country.
He aslo notes that the current governance structure of the ARU is simply not up to the task of conducting the ‘business’ of Rugby because it was crafted in the amateur era and designed for an amateur game.
Most importantly Arbib acknowledges the current divide between the business models of Super Rugby teams and the ARU and the effect that has on the success of both the national and the Super Rugby teams.
After reading the full report and looking at the complete list of recommendations, this gives me hope that game I love so dearly is taking a step in the right direction. There is definitely a long road ahead but this will be a good building block to take the game forward in the professional era.
Here are Arbib’s 15 recommendations;
That the State and Territory Unions continue to be acknowledged as Members of ARU and remain responsible for growing the Game in their own jurisdiction.
That the Australian Super Rugby teams be recognised as also having a key role in the Game, with each current Team (and any future Teams) acknowledged as Members of ARU in their own right.
That Members agree to new voting rights determined on the following basis:
- one vote for each Member Union
- one vote for each Super Rugby team as a condition of their licence
- one additional vote for each Member Union with more than 50,000 registered players (for a maximum of one additional vote)
- one vote for the Rugby Union Players’ Association.
That ARU adopt a skills-based Board comprised of eight Independent (non-executive) Directors.
That the following process be adopted for electing and appointing new Directors:
- a four person nomination committee to be formed each year comprising the ARU Chair and another representative selected by the Board and two representatives selected by the Members
- the committee assesses candidates based on their skills and experience and the Board’s requirements and makes recommendations on a unanimous basis to Members at the AGM for the election of six Directors
- the nominees are put to the Members of ARU at an AGM for approval on a two-thirds vote
- in addition to the elected directors, the Directors may appoint up to two other Directors to the Board o that all Directors be appointed for three years and be eligible to serve a maximum of three terms in line with the current terms for the Directors appointed by the Member Unions
- that the Chair of ARU be appointed by the Board with the position to be formally reconsidered every three years.
That the CEO sit on the Board as an Executive Director (or Managing Director) while retaining his or her position as CEO on an ex officio basis.
That the Chair of the Board preside as Chair at AGMs and that the President have no automatic entitlement to attend meetings of Directors.
That the positions of President and Vice-President be amended so each serves for a single term of one year.
That ARU adopt the practice of reporting against ASX Best Practice Recommendations.
That ARU form a joint Board and management stakeholder committee to help manage communications and interactions with key stakeholders including Member Unions, Super Rugby Franchises, sponsors and government.
That ARU continue to pursue the initiative of the current Chair to bring the Chairs of the Super Rugby teams together with CEOs and members of the ARU Board, to provide strategic as well as operational focus to the Super Rugby Commission.
That ARU work in collaboration with Member Unions and Super Rugby teams to develop a National Charter for Australian Rugby which outlines the roles and responsibilities of all organisations at all levels of Rugby.
That ARU be acknowledged as the ‘keeper of the code’ for Rugby in Australia from the grassroots to the elite level.
That ARU recommends that Member Unions & Super Rugby teams also adopt ‘best practice’ governance structures, including an independent skills-based Board.
That ARU, through the joint Board and management stakeholder committee, actively identify and pursue opportunities where the objectives of Rugby align with the goals of government.
If you would like to read the full report and recommendations, please click on the links below.