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IRPA chief thanks outgoing Miller

The International Rugby Players' Association have paid tribute to the achievements of Mike Miller, who has stood down as chief executive of the International Rugby Board.

Miller left the IRB at the end of last month after 10 years in the post, during which time he oversaw three World Cups and the return of rugby to the Olympics.

IRPA chairman Damian Hopley said: "IRPA would like to place on record our thanks to Mike for all of the work he has done in improving the international player relations with the IRB through IRPA."

"Mike was at the forefront of opening meaningful dialogue with the players and recognising their standing in the game during his tenure as CEO," he added. "Mike was instrumental in delivering a memorandum of understanding signed between the IRB and IRPA during the 2007 RWC.

"On behalf of professional rugby players worldwide we wish him well in his next career move."

The memorandum of understanding provided the first formal recognition by the IRB of IRPA as the world representative body for professional rugby players.

IRPA executive director Rob Nichol said: "Mike lead a number of initiatives that benefited and created opportunities for professional players and the game and we wish to express our appreciation to Mike for the role he has played.

"In addition to the MOU Mike was a driving force in the successful Olympic bid and the on-going evolution of the Sevens World Series, various developing nation and age group tournaments and fixtures and Rugby World Cup. Throughout his tenure Mike was a strong supporter of advancing high performance capability within developing nations and regions.

"He also oversaw the establishment of the annual international player welfare and medical conference and a number of forums aimed at addressing key issues impacting on the health of professional players.

"Many of these issues involve cultural and politically complexities. We appreciated Mike's desire to see stakeholders engage and work towards positive solutions that benefited players and the game."

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