Reduction plans to proceed following EGM vote

Tuesday June 20, 2017

The Australian Rugby Union (ARU) Board has welcomed support of members as it proceeds with plans to reduce one Super Rugby team from Australia ahead of the 2018 season.

At an Extraordinary General Meeting (EGM) held at ARU headquarters in Sydney today, three resolutions were put to voting members, as proposed jointly by the Rugby Union Players Association (RUPA) and the Victorian Rugby Union (VRU);

1. The EGM considers that it is in the best interests of Rugby in Australia that Australia maintain its five current teams in the Super Rugby competition until at least the end of the 2020 Super Rugby season.

2. That the Company re-consider its decision to reduce the number of Australian teams playing in the Super Rugby competition.

3. That the Company facilitate a forum of all Voting Members, to be held as soon as practicable and at the costs and expense of the Company, for the purposes of considering the establishment of an Australian Super Rugby Commission which will act as an advisory body to the Company on the future participation of Australian teams in the Super Rugby Competition.

Following a vote of all Voting Members present at the EGM the first and second resolutions were defeated, while the ARU has committed to facilitating a forum to discuss the potential for the establishment of an Australian Super Rugby Commission, as proposed in resolution three.

ARU Chairman, Cameron Clyne said: “It was a constructive meeting and gave us the opportunity to share some additional information on what some of the challenges are, and to answer some questions from the members.

“One of the major challenges when you have legal action is that it makes it difficult to have an open communication, but the meeting gave us the opportunity to go over some of the issues in a broader sense. There was no discussion around leadership changes or anything of that nature.

“We are all in the game because we love the game and are passionate about it, and everyone wants to see Rugby thrive.

“As we’ve said right from the outset, it was a difficult decision but we are here because our on-field performance and financial performance are not where they need to be. We want to see success, and although this has been a difficult process, we believe that this gives us an opportunity to improve that and the majority of members agree.

“We acknowledge that this process has had an impact on the health of our game, and most importantly on our people including players at the Super Rugby clubs.

“We are trying to bring this to a conclusion as soon as possible to give everyone in the game the certainty they deserve, though there are some factors out of our control.”

The meeting also reviewed trends in Australian Rugby and across global professional sports to highlight the challenges being faced by the industry.

“While Australian Rugby operates in the most congested winter sports market in the world, the challenges we are facing are not unique to our game. The way younger generations are engaging with sport is changing globally,” said Clyne.

“The key to Rugby’s long-term health is the number of young boys and girls playing the game and we need to strengthen our investment at the grassroots level.

“On-field success for our professional teams is also crucial as there is a direct correlation between team performance and fan attendance and viewership.”

News Source: ARU Media