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WRU member clubs vote overwhelmingly in favour of governance reforms

26 Mar 2023 3 minute read
Welsh Rugby Union acting chief executive Nigel Walker during a press conference at the Principality Stadium. Photo Jacob King PA Images

Welsh Rugby Union member clubs voted overwhelmingly in favour of governance reforms at an Extraordinary General Meeting on Sunday.

Of the 252 votes cast either at the Princess Royal Theatre in Port Talbot or by proxy, only seven did not vote in favour, meaning the 75 per cent majority needed was comfortably exceeded.

The WRU will now appoint an independent non-executive director (INED) as chair and recruit two further new INEDs to its 12-person board, doubling the total number of independent representatives to six, with the overall aspiration to ensure at least five directors are women.

Interim chief executive Nigel Walker said: “This is just the beginning of a journey which will see the trust and faith of a nation in Welsh rugby restored and revitalised.”

The governing body faced allegations of sexism and misogyny following a BBC Wales investigation as well as accusations of racism and homophobia, with Walker’s predecessor Steve Phillips resigning following criticism of the WRU’s handling of those allegations.

Repercussions

Previous attempts at instigating similar changes did not meet with sufficient approval from clubs but WRU officials pushed heavily for a positive result this time, arguing another failure could have serious repercussions.

Chair Ieuan Evans said following the vote: “I’m delighted with the support members have shown for the board’s recommendation today.

“We now have a line in the sand from which we intend to move forward purposefully, swiftly and better prepared to serve Welsh rugby’s needs. This is another historic day in the 142-year history of the WRU.

“From this moment on we will be much better equipped to overcome any challenges we may face and I thank all members for giving us the tools to do a better job on their behalf.

“The repercussions of a positive vote today are nothing short of momentous and I am genuinely excited about the latent potential of our national game at all levels.

“We will draft in the very best talent to help our elected board members. Each with a genuine and heartfelt interest and love for our game. But also with the business expertise, varied skills and acumen to see Welsh rugby soar.”

Clubs had been concerned about a loss of power, and in the new board configuration four members will still come from the WRU Council, which is entirely elected by member clubs.

One new director role will be for someone who can support and further the women’s game.

Walker added: “We hope to complete the process for change by December this year, but the first steps will be taken immediately.

“There is a lot of hard work ahead of us but this is a genuinely uplifting moment in the history of our game.”


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Dai Rob
Dai Rob
2 months ago

Rearranging the chairs on the titanic. The Regions are the cause of virtually all the problems in Welsh Rugby.
They will carring on getting hammered and squandering all the cash.
Nothing ever changes in Welsh Rugby. Here’s to another 20 years of chaos!

Leigh Richards
Leigh Richards
2 months ago
Reply to  Dai Rob

Nonsense Dai. The major cause of Welsh rugby’s problems is a structure which has meant the professional game in Wales has been under the control of the amateur clubs – a archiach state of affairs which has no place in a body like the WRU which has a £100 million a year turnover. Today’s vote corrects that ludicrous state of affairs.

Dai Rob
Dai Rob
2 months ago
Reply to  Leigh Richards

But the regions manage themselves, as they have for the last 20 years….with their own board of directors etc. What will they now do differently????

Riki
Riki
2 months ago
Reply to  Dai Rob

And apparently they want 5 out of the 6 elected board members to be Women. This isn’t about equality, this about a Takeover!

Gareth
Gareth
2 months ago

Better late than never. The WRU has for years pushed for change, only to be denied by the amateur clubs. A big news story that has made the WRU look outdated and sexist has forced the change. Why did the clubs oppose this change 2 years ago when proposed by Gareth Davies,who was later removed by said ” junior” clubs, and he was not the first.

Riki
Riki
2 months ago
Reply to  Gareth

Yeah, so sexist they now advise to go to the extreme in the opposite direction. 5 out of 6 should be Women, apparently! Absolutely Ridiculous. If this happens, Rugby in Wales will be ruined forever, the men running Welsh rugby are incompetent, not Sexist. The best people for the job should be appointed, not based on their gender. Or the actions of but a few rotten apples.

Gareth
Gareth
2 months ago
Reply to  Riki

I think you need to read the above article, which states they want 6 independent representatives on a board of 12, with 5 of the 12 being women, which is less than half, but not 5 out of 6. As regards amateur running the game, it has always been thus in the WRU, where 2 years ago the ” junior ” clubs voted out 2 professionals, to be replaced by 2 retired teachers to run the game.

Riki
Riki
2 months ago
Reply to  Gareth

Indeed, I caught a bit on Sky News. Sums up how Wales are treated by them doesn’t it?! They didn’t go into enough depth about it. Fair play, my mistake, however…my point about incompetence stands. Putting more women on there won’t change that. Will they even be able to find enough qualified Women to fill those positions?

Gareth
Gareth
2 months ago
Reply to  Riki

Laura Mccallister has done well inside the FAW, and now has a position in UEFA. In 2015 the WRU had a female on the board, who was the executive vice president of Mars Corp, so it has and can be done, if the will is there.Also there must be a few retired players who would want to help change the union, for the better.

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