WRU member clubs vote in favour of governance reforms

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Nigel Walker Credit: Alamy

Welsh Rugby Union (WRU) member clubs have voted overwhelmingly in favour of governance reforms at an Extraordinary General Meeting that took place on Sunday.

There were 252 votes cast at the Princess Royal Theatre in Port Talbot or by proxy, of which only seven did not vote in favour, meaning the 75 per cent majority required was comfortably met.

The WRU will now name 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.

Just the beginning

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

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.

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.”

Further women’s game

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.

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

“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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