Brumbies welcome a new balance in rugby's power base
ACT Brumbies chief executive Andrew Fagan. Photo: STUART WALMSLEY
The ACT Brumbies have declared the ARU's new independent governance model a ''step in the right direction for the game'' with the previous skewed balance of power to NSW now distributed evenly.
The ARU unveiled its new leadership model on Monday with an independent board of directors to be appointed following the report compiled by former federal sports minister Mark Arbib.
It follows similar changes at the top to the ones made in the AFL and NRL.
The Brumbies are set to benefit from an extra voting position as rugby tries to build across Australia.
Previously, NSW held five of 14 available votes, with Queensland the next best on three. But under the new structure, NSW and Queensland will be given three, and the ACT and other Super Rugby states get two each of the available 16 votes. Each state and territory has the opportunity to secure an additional vote should they join NSW and Queensland in passing 50,000 registered players in their region.
Brumbies chief executive Andrew Fagan was in Sydney for the announcement and he praised officials for making a move he believes will benefit rugby across the nation.
''It's a historic moment for the sport because one of the things that needs to happen when you go through change like this is you often need those who have held tremendous power to give some of that up,'' he said. ''It's for the greater good of the game. You have to congratulate NSW in particular and Queensland for making some concessions in that regard of [relinquishing some power].
''I think it's a great outcome and effectively means the new voting structure reflects the contribution the various states are making to the sport. And there's ability for others to grow.
''The flow-on effect for the Brumbies will come for the strength of the governing body and I've got no doubt it's a good move.''
Over coming months, a four-member independent nominations committee will be established to recommended new directors for election. Existing directors will serve out their terms before moving on, but will have the right to be considered again as independent nominees.
The new system will give voice to Super Rugby franchises and distribute votes more evenly across states, territories and also to the Rugby Union Players Association. The required 75 per cent of members voted on Monday to adopt a new government model following recommendations from the Strengthening the Governance of Australian Rugby, which was released in October.
''The world doesn't change tomorrow,'' Fagan said. ''But what it means is we've got a contemporary governance model with far greater independence, which should support the growth of the game and allow for making decisions in the absolute best interest.
''You need to act in the national interest, and it's not suggesting anyone wasn't previously.
''But when you've got a constitution that can only change if one state supported it - which is what the previous model was because NSW held 25 per cent of the vote - it's not a positive thing for any organisation.''
ARU president Ron Graham said: ''Today marks an historic occasion for Australian rugby.
''We have listened to our members and worked with them to get to where we are today.
''I am proud that the decision has been made to take the game to the next level and officially move to having an independent corporate governance structure.''