World Rugby has officially welcomed Georgia, Romania and USA onto its expanded Council at its interim meeting in London last week.
With a new governance model paving the way for wider representation on Council, the three unions were participating in their first meeting since being confirmed in May having achieved all the required governance criteria as stipulated within the federation’s bye-laws.
World Rugby Chairman Bill Beaumont said: “We are delighted to be welcoming Georgia, Romania and USA to Council for the first time today. These are unions who have contributed so much to the game and are making massive strides on and off the field. I know that they will make a strong contribution as we grow the sport together.
“Their inclusion shows that the pathway is in place and the door open to other unions who aspire to have a seat on Council. It is an inspiration and we encourage all unions to take inspiration from Georgia, Romania and the USA, review their governance and strive to achieve the required criteria.
“World Rugby is committed to the sustainable growth of the sport set against a backdrop of transparency, integrity and strong governance and we will continue to work with our unions to ensure that they have all the necessary support to achieve and maintain the necessary criteria moving forward.”
World Rugby’s Nominations Committee will be considering applications from additional Council applicants at its May 2017 annual meeting.
The meeting was the first to feature an additional representative from Argentina and Italy and the first to feature expanded voting rights for each of the six regional associations.
Additionally, the World Rugby Council has approved expanded voting rights for nine unions in accordance with wide-ranging and historic governance reform announced last year. The unions obtained an additional voting right (with no additional representative) following a full review of applications against clear criteria set out in Bye-Law 9.1 (f) by the Nominations Committee (view the criteria here).
The unions who will receive an additional vote are Australia, England, France, Ireland, Italy, New Zealand, Scotland, South Africa and Wales. In total, there are now 46 votes on Council with each of the six regional associations receiving two in addition to the individual union allocation.Further consideration will be given to Argentina’s application in respect of meeting the necessary criteria ahead of the 2017 annual meeting.
Council also elected Gareth Davies (Wales) to its Executive Committee, replacing South Africa’s Oregan Hoskins who has stepped down after 10 years on the decision-making body.
Council approved the recommendation of the Nominations Committee to appoint Emilie Bydwell and Wang Shao-Ing to the Women’s Advisory Committee. An additional representative from South America will be confirmed in due course.
Council ratified the Executive Committee’s decision to suspend Kazakhstan’s membership of World Rugby with immediate effect owing to ongoing governance issues.
Council also paid tribute to Italy’s Giancarlo Dondi, who was attending his last Council meeting after 20 years of distinguished service to the Italian and world game.