The Australian Rugby Union on Monday adopted a new governance model that will give more power to the country's franchises.
ARU members voted to adopt the new model, following recommendations from the 'Strengthening the Governance of Australian Rugby' (Arbib) review, which was released in October this year.
Following in the footsteps of the AFL and NRL, an independent board of directors will be appointed as part of recommendations being implemented from the Arbib review.
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.
Following an eight-month process members gathered at ARU headquarters where the required 75 percent support was secured for the changes.
Adoption of the new Constitutional changes rebalances the voting entitlements of members and will assist in promoting a governance structure, working independently in the best interests of Rugby Union across Australia.
The new structure will result in an increase in voting numbers from 14 to 16, with States, Territories, Super Rugby bodies and the Rugby Union Players Association (RUPA) to receive the following allocations:
NSW: Three (one for member union status, one for Super Rugby team and one for more than 50,000 participants)
QUEENSLAND: Three (one for member union status, one for Super Rugby Team and one for more than 50,000 participants)
WESTERN AUSTRALIA: Two (one for member union status and one for Super Rugby Team)
VICTORIA: Two (one for member union status and one for Super Rugby Team)
ACT & SOUTHERN NSW: Two (one for member union status and one for Super Rugby Team)
SOUTH AUSTRALIA: One (one for member union status)
NOTHERN TERRITORY: One (one for member union status)
TASMANIA: One (one for member union status)
RUGBY UNION PLAYERS ASSOCIATION (RUPA): One
Previously the voting structure made no allowance for Super Rugby bodies or RUPA with the 14 votes split along the following lines:
NSW Rugby Union - five
Queensland Rugby Union - three
Other State and Territory Member Unions - one each
Under the new Constitution each State and Territory has the opportunity to secure an additional vote should they - like NSW and Queensland - surpass 50,000 registered players in their region.
ARU President, Ron Graham and ARU Chairman, Michael Hawker AM, thanked members for their support and contributions to the debate.
"Today [Monday] marks an historic occasion for Australian rugby, an occasion that would not have been possible without the combined efforts and commitment of all our Members to work together," Graham said.
"Over the past number of weeks we have undertaken a process of consultation. 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."
The new Constitution takes effect immediately.
Over the coming months a four-member independent nominations committee will be established to recommend independent directors for election to the ARU Board.
Existing directors will serve out their terms. However, they will have the right to be considered for nomination as an independent candidate for re-election, by the newly elected Nominations Committee.
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