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World Rugby Opens Council to More Nations

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World Rugby Opens Council to More Nations

World Rugby has announced major changes in its governance setup, including expanding representation of lower-raked or lower-profile (Tier 2) rugby nations on the governing Council.

A transitional Nominations Committee has been formed to begin the process of identifying the independent directors to be appointed to the Executive Committee, while the changes relating to Council composition and voting rights will be implemented after the May 2016 Annual Meeting of Council following detailed evaluation against the required criteria. This group will be chaired by Peter Sutherland, former European Commissioner, former Attorney General of Ireland and chairman/board member of many major international companies.

"We have enjoyed a very special and record-breaking Rugby World Cup in England and rugby is experiencing record participation growth, media interest and commercial appeal,” said World Rugby Chairman Bernard Lapasset. “We are reaching, engaging and inspiring more audiences than ever before. We are redistributing record sums in the development and sustainability of the game. Together we are successful and growing as a sport. That is the best reason for change.

"This exciting new model, developed following extensive review and consultation, will ensure that World Rugby, and by extension, the sport, has the governance structures and tools to support future growth as rugby continues to inspire and thrive.”

The reform program was overseen by a dedicated governance working group, chaired by World Rugby Vice-Chairman Oregan Hoskins, and comprising Mike Hawker (Australia), Ian Ritchie (England), Steve Tew (New Zealand), Gareth Davies (Wales), Octavian Morariu (Rugby Europe), Pierre Camou (France), Brett Gosper (World Rugby), and Peter Sutherland (Independent).

Subject to meeting governance criteria, Council voting rights expand to include unions who have qualified for the previous two Rugby World Cups, and additionally, Unions who have made a major contribution to the growth and development of the game. This means that USA Rugby has a seat on the council.

Additionally, all six regional associations (such as NACRA) will receive two votes on Council.

“This is a great step forward for World Rugby. The World Rugby Council will now have a wider range of voices. We are confident that USA Rugby will satisfy the Committee that we meet the criteria to have our own seat on the Council – something that has long been a goal of USA Rugby,” said Bob Latham, USA Rugby Chairman and World Rugby Council member from the Rugby Americas North region. "In addition, the added weight to the vote of regional associations shows that World Rugby values the member unions who are not directly represented.”