Welsh Rugby Union (WRU) member clubs voted overwhelmingly in favour of the Special Resolution tabled at today’s (Sunday 26th March) Extraordinary General Meeting (EGM), in a move set to irrevocably improve governance structures and change the face of the game in Wales for the better, forever.
A total of 173 members were represented, and a further 79 voted by proxy, at the Princess Royal Theatre in Port Talbot, with 245 votes (of 252 in total) cast in favour of the resolution, meaning the 75% majority for the motion to pass was easily exceeded (97.2% voted in favour).
The meeting was chaired by WRU President Gerald Davies who called it ‘quorate’ well ahead of an 11am start, with the 95-attendee threshold (to make any vote valid) also easily met.
The EGM also heard from WRU chair Ieuan Evans, chair of the WRU’s Community Game Board John Manders and interim CEO Nigel Walker, with Company Secretary Rhodri Lewis overseeing proceedings alongside independent scrutineer Jonathan Rhodes.
“I’m delighted with the support members have shown for the Board’s recommendation today,” said Evans, who set out his stated mission to modernise the governance of the WRU in his New Year address at the start of 2023, just a few weeks after his own election.
“We now have a line in the sand from which we intend to move forward purposefully, swiftly and better prepared to serve Welsh rugby’s needs. This is another historic day in the 142-year history of the WRU.
“From this moment on we will be much better equipped to overcome any challenges we may face and I thank all members for giving us the tools to do a better job on their behalf.
“The repercussions of a positive vote today are nothing short of momentous and I am genuinely excited about the latent potential of our national game at all levels.
“Members have taken the opportunity to pay something forward of huge significance to our great rugby playing country’s children… and its children’s children.
“We will draft in the very best talent to help our elected Board members. Each with a genuine and heartfelt, interest and love for our game.
“But also with the business expertise, varied skills and acumen to see Welsh rugby soar.”
With the Special Resolution passed the WRU will now appoint an Independent Non-Executive Director (INED) as chair and recruit a two further new INEDs to its twelve-person Board, doubling the total number of INEDs to six.
In the new configuration four Board members will still come from the WRU Council which is entirely elected by member clubs, one of whom will be the Community Game Board’s chair.
The remaining two spots on the Board will be filled by the WRU CEO and a new Director role for someone who can support and further the women’s game.
All changes will take place in context of the overall aspiration to ensure at least five Directors are women.
The Annual General Meeting of the WRU, which will see a natural changing of the guard for a number of WRU Council members takes place in November, and the WRU has already planned a timeline for appointments, with the new chair to come in first and the following processes to be completed before the end of 2023.
“We hope to complete the process for change by December this year, but the first steps will be taken immediately,” said interim CEO Nigel Walker.
“We need a new chair in place first and the recruitment process for INEDs, and of course any potential new CEO, will follow from there, with a natural stage at our AGM in November where the composition of our elected members will evolve due to a number reaching the end of their terms of office.
“This is just the beginning of a journey which will see the trust and faith of a nation in Welsh rugby restored and revitalised. There is a lot of hard work ahead of us but this is a genuinely uplifting moment in the history of our game.”