Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 16 April 2014

ARU hope to push review recommendations

The ARU are planning to spread votes evenly across each state, among other recommendations

The Australian Rugby Union are confident the findings of an independent review into the sport will ensure it stays in touch with rival codes.

The ARU released the results of a corporate governance review by former Federal Sports Minister Mark Arbib on Tuesday, which consisted of 15 recommendations to usher in a new era for the game.

In the current model there are 14 member votes for the ARU constitutionally, with New South Wales and Queensland holding eight of those votes. But under the new format the votes will be shared more evenly across each state and Super Rugby franchise to give a broader reach around the country.

Some other key recommendations of Arbib's report included: Establishing an Independent Board of Directors; changes to the ARU's voting structure; protecting and enhancing the game's future; and promoting greater accountability and transparency of the ARU board and its decisions.

ARU chairman Michael Hawker has no doubt the time is right for an overhaul of the game and hopes its members ratify the findings when they vote next month.

"Our original constitution was in 1949 and we really (only) had NSW and Queenslanders," Hawker told reporters. "Since then, the game has evolved quite considerably from an amateur code to a professional code from NSW to Queensland to a code that spans across Australia.

"There's a heavy concentration of NSW and Queensland on the board and it's felt as the game spreads across Australia it wasn't representative of the game."

Meanwhile, Hawker said the search for a new CEO to replace the outgoing John O'Neill was in full swing and they hoped to have a shortlist before the end of the year.

"We've got an internal list and in the next week or so we'll put that together and start to move to a shorter list somewhere between now and the end of the year and hopefully interview some candidates," Hawker said.

"Ideally we'd like to have someone identified at the end of the year and announced. The challenge is can they start right away or not as they might have an existing role (elsewhere). But we're trying to have someone identified by the end of the year and to start as soon as they can."