The key elements of the new governance model are the introduction of a Management Committee and four standing committees to take responsibility for Finance, the Professional/ Representative Game, the Domestic Game and Commercial/Marketing.
Making the announcement the President of the IRFU, Mr John Quilligan, said: "We are firmly of the belief that this new model will enable the IRFU to move forwards to address the challenges of governing the game of rugby in Ireland in the context of a rapidly evolving professional sporting environment. We look forward to the new impetus these changes will bring to the Union and to Irish rugby for the betterment of the game we all love and support."
The Management Committee will be given the formal authority to co-ordinate and execute the implementation of IRFU policy, currently a role carried out in part by the IRFU Officer Group on an informal basis. It also provides the opportunity to match the skills sets of its membership with the needs of the Union. The Management Committee's terms of reference will be to:
· Oversee the implementation of IRFU policy · Report to the IRFU Committee on a regular and timely basis · Establish Sub Committees as required, with the approval of the IRFU Committee
Underpinning the new governance structure is a professional staff led by the Chief Executive, Philip Browne, which provides the support necessary to deliver and implement the strategy.
The announcement represents a substantive development for both the Union and the Irish rugby community it serves. The initiative to change the existing governance model came from the strategic planning process currently underway within the IRFU. The new model, which required changes to the laws of the Union, is reflective of the rapidly evolving sporting environment that Rugby Union operates in.
The IRFU is adopting a model of best practice for an international sporting body having reviewed the structures used both by other rugby unions and other leading sporting organisations. The IRFU also factored the advice of external consultants, including Genesis, Deloitte & Touche and ASMT Limited, into their decision.
The new governance model takes account of the vital role of the volunteer through a continued democratic process and which also provides for: -
· The strengthening of the leadership structures at Union level · The dynamic and efficient maximisation of resources, people and expertise · Focus by the IRFU Committee on policy and setting the direction for Irish Rugby rather than over-focus on information and operations. · A new Management Committee to co-ordinate the implementation of these policies and to provide the critical link between the IRFU Committee, Sub Committees and professional staff. · Clarity in terms of who sets policy and who is responsible for its implementation. · The establishment of clear terms of reference and powers of implementation within defined limits for the four Standing Committees. · The invigoration and empowerment of the voluntary structures through making their role more meaningful. · The clear input to the management of Irish Rugby by professional staff at senior management level.
To ensure continuity the Chairman of the Management Committee, who will be independent of the Branches or clubs, will be appointed by the IRFU Committee for a three-year period, subject to annual review. Likewise the Chairmen of the four key Standing Committees will also be appointed for a three-year period, albeit on a staggered basis, again to ensure continuity.