Posted: Sun 26th Mar 2023

Historic day for Welsh Rugby as vote on WRU governance overhaul is passed

News and Info from Deeside, Flintshire, North Wales
This article is old - Published: Sunday, Mar 26th, 2023

Welsh rugby clubs have voted in favour of a major governance overhaul of the Welsh Rugby Union (WRU) board.

A Special Resolution was tabled at today’s (Sunday 26th March) Extraordinary General Meeting (EGM) in a move set to “irrevocably improve governance structures and change the face of the game in Wales.”

At the Princess Royal Theatre in Port Talbot, 173 members were present while 79 others cast their vote via proxy, resulting in a total of 252 votes.

Of these, 245 were in favour of the resolution, surpassing the required 75% majority needed for the motion to pass with a significant margin of 97.2%.

As a result of the vote, a number of changes to the 12-strong board will take place.

The number of elected club officials will be reduced from eight to four, while the number of appointed independent directors will increase from three to six.

The WRU has also set an ambitious target of having at least five women on the board.

In addition, the chair of the Welsh Rugby Union can now be an independent person.

The vote follows calls for change from former players, who have criticised the current structure and the lack of representation for former players on the board.

Interim CEO Nigel Walker stated that the changes are just the beginning of a journey to restore the trust and faith of the nation in Welsh rugby.

He said: “We hope to complete the process for change by December this year, but the first steps will be taken immediately,” said interim CEO Nigel Walker.

“We need a new chair in place first and the recruitment process for INEDs, and of course any potential new CEO, will follow from there, with a natural stage at our AGM in November where the composition of our elected members will evolve due to a number reaching the end of their terms of office.

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

The WRU has been facing allegations of sexism and discrimination following a BBC Wales investigative documentary which exposed a “toxic culture” within the sport’s governing body.

The union’s CEO, Steve Phillips, resigned in the days following, saying it was time for someone else to lead the way. And an announcement was made that an investigation would be held into the culture of the Welsh game.

The WRU has also faced criticism from players due to contractual issues during protracted negotiations with the regions over a financial agreement.

Players almost went on strike ahead of their clash with England during the Six Nations.

Welsh Conservative Shadow Sports Minister, Tom Giffard MS said: 

“I am delighted that rugby clubs along the length and breadth of Wales have voted overwhelmingly for these historic reforms. 

“These transformative changes that will now be implemented are a hugely positive step that I hope will bring great comfort to women across Wales and shows the WRU have listened. 

“The WRU now needs to get on with the job of serving the needs of our nation’s game and ensuring that no one ever feels unsafe or unheard ever again.”

 

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