Australian Rugby Union release corporate governance review

by staff

Key Recommendations:

Establish an Independent Board of Directors,

Promote greater accountability and transparency,

Reform the Membership of ARU to better reflect the contribution of the Super Rugby teams and RUPA and rebalance the voting entitlements of Members,

Promote greater understanding and coordination of the roles and responsibilities of organisations throughout the Rugby community; and

Protecting and enhancing the game’s future.

Australian Rugby Union today released the Strengthening the Governance of Australian Rugby (the Arbib Review), which looked into the game’s Corporate Governance structures.

The release of the Review, which was conducted independently, by former Federal Assistant Treasurer and Sports Minister, The Hon. Mark Arbib, marks a watershed moment for the code in Australia.

ARU’s Board considered the Arbib Review last week and, after furnishing key constituents with the report, today made public the historic review.

ARU’s Chairman, Michael Hawker AM, thanked Mr Arbib for his work and welcomed the reviews findings.

“The work undertaken by Mr Arbib over the past six months is greatly appreciated by the Board and, if supported by ARU’s Member Unions, will benefit Australian Rugby for years to come,” Mr Hawker said.

“The review, and the Board’s decision to endorse it, is about providing the best structure to govern and represent our game at all levels.

“Rugby is part of one of the most competitive sporting marketplaces in the world and if we as a sport want to continue to grow and prosper in to the future then our Corporate Governance structure needs to reflect the modern day sporting market.”

Federal Minister for Sport, Senator Kate Lundy, congratulated Rugby on undertaking the independent review and welcomed the recommendations.

“A modern governance structure is a prerequisite to support a sustainable and prosperous sporting organisation and the Arbib Review will lay the foundation for Rugby to continue to grow in Australia,” Senator Lundy said.

“Sporting bodies that practice good governance perform the best on and off the field and are well placed to forge strong community connections and build their participation base.

“The recommendations in the Review provide an opportunity for ARU to adopt best practice models in their corporate governance structures, which will assist in delivering a strong platform for growth in the years to come.”

After announcing the review in April, ARU’s Governance and Policy Committee, chaired by General (Ret.) Peter Cosgrove AC MC, received the Review and presented recommendations to the Board last week.

Mr Hawker said the Arbib Review was not made public immediately so that key stakeholders had time to consider the Review’s findings.

“After receiving the Review last week we have provided our key stakeholders with the opportunity to review and consider the recommendations in the Arbib Review before making it public,” Mr Hawker said.

“The Board recognises the goodwill and support of Member Unions is required for us to adopt the recommendations and proposed changes within the Review.

“It is important to understand that this is an historic opportunity to help secure the future of Rugby for all our stakeholders, from the grassroots to the elite level, a fact I am sure is not lost on any of our stakeholders.”

“In supporting each of the Review’s key recommendations the Board acknowledged that the Review also contained a very thorough assessment of Australian Rugby’s position within the Australian and global sports market.

“Whilst some of Mr Arbib’s observations and findings do not necessarily accord with those of all members of the Rugby family, the Board believes it’s important to publish the Review without change, which is what we have done.”

The review’s author, Mark Arbib, said the Review’s recommendations were made to assist Rugby in strengthening its place in the Australian sporting marketplace.

“The success with which Rugby has been able to establish itself as one of Australia’s marquee professional sports, in a relatively short space of time and in such a competitive market, is impressive,” Mr Arbib said.

“The challenge for Rugby now, if it is to keep pace with its competitors, is to take the next step and adopt best practice governance arrangements for the sport.

“The recommendations in the Review are focussed on promoting greater communication and transparency throughout Rugby as well as establishing frameworks for the best possible decision-making.

“The recommendations are aimed at growing and strengthening the Game – from the grassroots to the elite.

“With next year’s Lions tour and the inclusion of Rugby Sevens in the Olympics there is clearly a very bright future for Rugby in Australia.

“Pursuing governance reform will help ARU to better seize these opportunities for the benefit of the entire Rugby community.

“I would like to congratulate John O’Neill and the Board for taking this important step and I strongly encourage all of Rugby’s stakeholders to work with ARU on adopting reform.”

ARU’s Board will spend the coming weeks discussing the Review’s recommendations with key stakeholders

The Strengthening the Governance of Australian Rugby (the Arbib Review) and a summary of the 15 recommendations, along with the Board’s Resolutions can be found at