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NSW set to lose power in ARU shake-up

From government to governance ... former senator, Mark Arbib, will play an active role in the modernisation of the game in Australia.

From government to governance ... former senator, Mark Arbib, will play an active role in the modernisation of the game in Australia. Photo: Steve Christo

FORMER federal minister for sport and committed Waratahs fan Mark Arbib is awaiting directions from the Australian Rugby Union over his role in a major review that is expected to lead to a fully independent board and NSW losing its power base.

The ARU will announce at its annual general meeting on Friday that Arbib and Peter Cosgrove will conduct a review of Australian rugby's corporate governance.

Cosgrove, the chairman of the ARU's governance and policy committee, will run the review, while Arbib will be involved in discussions with leading Australian rugby stakeholders. One source said last night that Arbib will do ''the leg work''.

Arbib told the Herald he was delighted to be involved in the ARU review.

''I understand the ARU wants to modernise rugby union and look at different models for governance, but any more than that is a matter for the board. I'll await directions from the board on Friday,'' he said yesterday.

Arbib's involvement follows a recent direction that if sports did not comply with new Australian Sports Commission guidelines, which emphasise independent governance, federal government funding would be under threat.

While the AFL Commission is regarded as the benchmark in Australian sport and the NRL recently opted for an independent commission, rugby remains antiquated, particularly its voting system, which will be in operation at this week's annual general meeting.

NSW will have five votes at the meeting and Queensland three, while the other states and territories have one each. The NSW-Queensland dominance enables them to direct the vote on numerous issues, especially as decisions or changes require a 75 per cent majority.

The two states also have a considerable say on the ARU's nine-man board. NSW and Queensland have two directors each, while the ''other states'' have a representative.

The rest of the board is comprised of ARU chief executive John O'Neill, a Rugby Union Players' Association representative and two independent directors, who are appointed by the ARU board.

Suggested changes include all of the states having just one vote, which would end the NSW-Queensland domination, and an ARU board comprised entirely of independent directors.

Arbib's involvement is not surprising considering he has a great knowledge of sports governance and developed a strong relationship with the ARU while federal sports minister, which ended when he resigned from the Senate in February.

''I'm very happy to be helping out. I played rugby at school and colts level, I have been a long-time supporter of the Waratahs and rugby is a fantastic game,'' Arbib said.

''My understanding is that their [the ARU] board has already said there needs to be an overhaul and it needs to be modernised. That's sensible, because for many sporting organisations you always have to adapt with the times.

''It is a highly competitive sporting market place in Australia, and rugby is a sport that is growing, with enormous potential. Being involved in the Olympics gives rugby an excellent opportunity to take the next big step and I'm very happy to help them in getting their governance right …

''The really important thing for rugby is its inclusion in the Olympics … I really think rugby can be a powerhouse in the future.

''I'm looking forward to getting around and talking to the people in the rugby community, but I have to wait for the ARU board to determine exactly what they want me to do, the terms of reference and the processes they want to be put in place.''

The review is backed by the Rugby Union Players' Association - but it believes it should be more expansive.

Association chief Greg Harris said he ''welcomed this review, and anything which improves the standing of the game is to our advantage''.

''But there is a real need for this review to be broader,'' Harris said yesterday.

''It instead should be a review of the whole game, including talent development pathways, commercial viability … the whole box and dice.''

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Rugby World Cup 2015

Round 1
Sat, 19 SepTimes shown AEST
ENG -1vs FJI -1 05:00Twic
TGA 0vs GEO 0 21:00Kholm
IRE 0vs CAN 0 23:30MilS
Sun, 20 SepTimes shown AEST
SAF 0vs JPN 0 01:45Brig
FRA 0vs ITA 0 05:00Twic
SAM 0vs USA 0 21:00Brig
WAL 0vs URU 0 23:30MilS
Mon, 21 SepTimes shown AEST
NZL 0vs ARG 0 01:45Wemb
Wed, 23 SepTimes shown AEST
SCO 0vs JPN 0 23:30Kholm
Thu, 24 SepTimes shown AEST
AUS 0vs FJI 0 01:45MilS
FRA 0vs ROM 0 05:00The Stadium, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park
Fri, 25 SepTimes shown AEST
NZL 0vs NAM 0 05:00The Stadium, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park
Sat, 26 SepTimes shown AEST
ARG 0vs GEO 0 01:45Kholm
ITA 0vs CAN 0 23:30Ella
Sun, 27 SepTimes shown AEST
SAF 0vs SAM 0 01:45Villa
ENG 0vs WAL 0 05:00Twic
AUS 0vs URU 0 21:00Villa
SCO 0vs USA 0 23:30Ella
Mon, 28 SepTimes shown AEST
IRE 0vs ROM 0 01:45Wemb
Wed, 30 SepTimes shown AEST
TGA 0vs NAM 0 01:45Sand
Fri, 02 OctTimes shown AEST
WAL 0vs FJI 0 01:45MilS
FRA 0vs CAN 0 05:00stadium:mk
Sat, 03 OctTimes shown AEST
NZL 0vs GEO 0 05:00MilS
SAM 0vs JPN 0 23:30stadium:mk
Sun, 04 OctTimes shown AEST
SAF 0vs SCO 0 01:45St James' Park
ENG 0vs AUS 0 06:00Twic
Mon, 05 OctTimes shown AEDT
ARG 0vs TGA 0 00:30KPS
IRE 0vs ITA 0 02:45The Stadium, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park
Wed, 07 OctTimes shown AEDT
CAN 0vs ROM 0 02:45KPS
FJI 0vs URU 0 06:00stadium:mk
Thu, 08 OctTimes shown AEDT
SAF 0vs USA 0 02:45The Stadium, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park
NAM 0vs GEO 0 06:00Sand
Sat, 10 OctTimes shown AEDT
NZL 0vs TGA 0 06:00St James' Park
Sun, 11 OctTimes shown AEDT
SAM 0vs SCO 0 00:30St James' Park
AUS 0vs WAL 0 02:45Twic
ENG 0vs URU 0 06:00Manch
ARG 0vs NAM 0 22:00KPS
Mon, 12 OctTimes shown AEDT
ITA 0vs ROM 0 00:30Sand
FRA 0vs IRE 0 02:45MilS
USA 0vs JPN 0 06:00Kholm
View All Fixtures
Round 2
Sun, 18 OctTimes shown AEDT
WinB 0vs RUpA 0 02:00Twic
WinC 0vs RUpD 0 06:00MilS
WinD 0vs RUpC 0 23:00MilS
Mon, 19 OctTimes shown AEDT
WinA 0vs RUpB 0 02:00Twic
Sun, 25 OctTimes shown AEDT
WQF1 0vs WQF2 0 02:00Twic
Mon, 26 OctTimes shown AEDT
WQF3 0vs WQF4 0 03:00Twic
Sat, 31 OctTimes shown AEDT
LSF1 0vs LSF2 0 07:00The Stadium, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park
Sun, 01 NovTimes shown AEDT
WSF1 0vs WSF2 0 03:00Twic
View All Fixtures
Rugby World Cup 2015
Overall standings
Team P W L D +/- Pts
France 0 0 0 0 0 0
New Zealand 0 0 0 0 0 0
Canada 0 0 0 0 0 0
Tonga 0 0 0 0 0 0
Japan 0 0 0 0 0 0
View all
Rugby World Cup 2015
Overall standings
Team P W L D +/- Pts
Romania 0 0 0 0 0 0
Argentina 0 0 0 0 0 0
England 0 0 0 0 0 0
Georgia 0 0 0 0 0 0
Scotland 0 0 0 0 0 0
View all
Rugby World Cup 2015
Overall standings
Team P W L D +/- Pts
Australia 0 0 0 0 0 0
USA 0 0 0 0 0 0
Italy 0 0 0 0 0 0
Ireland 0 0 0 0 0 0
View all
Rugby World Cup 2015
Overall standings
Team P W L D +/- Pts
Fiji 0 0 0 0 0 0
Samoa 0 0 0 0 0 0
Namibia 0 0 0 0 0 0
South Africa 0 0 0 0 0 0
Wales 0 0 0 0 0 0
View all
 

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