ACT & Southern NSW Rugby Union Governance review

The University of Canberra Brumbies are considering the findings of an independent review into the governance of the ACT & Southern NSW Rugby Union after the final report was presented to the Board and affiliate members on Monday night.

The University of Canberra Brumbies commissioned Dr Michael Crawford, who has previously worked extensively with the ARU and the FFA, late last year to undertake the review.

In his comprehensive report Dr Crawford highlighted the challenges that sporting organisations face in what is perhaps the most competitive professional sports marketplace in the world and recommended structural change necessary to best meet those challenges and ensure the growth, development and success of rugby at community and the professional level.

Dr Crawford's report contains five primary recommendations:

•    The Brumbies (team and commercial business) be managed through a wholly commercial entity separate from ACT&SNSWRU, to which ACT&SNSWRU leases the intellectual property and management rights for the Brumbies, while retaining ownership of those rights.

•    ACT&SNSWRU be conducted as a volunteer driven organisation, focused on actively managing the health and growth of Community Rugby in the ACT and Southern NSW.

•    The licence fee from the new Brumbies organisation is set as a proportion of its revenue, at a level that ensures a substantial increase in resources available to Community Rugby.

•    The licensing arrangements also include a share of any increase in the value of net assets of the Brumbies organisation (including net of any capital contribution by other parties).

•    ACT&SNSWRU decide whether to seek private investors to manage the Brumbies or to establish a Rugby community aligned entity for that purpose.

Brumbies Rugby Chairman Sean Hammond said the review was a positive step in ensuring the club was to remain sustainable in the future.

“The Brumbies are committed to reviewing all club based processes to be best positioned for a strong future, both on and off the field,” Hammond said.

“Last year the Brumbies undertook significant and well documented change in our coaching and playing roster which is producing positive results and this review is a continuation of that acknowledged need for internal reflection.

“We must be sure our governance structures are providing the club with the resources, focus and direction required to be a sustainable sport and organisation long into the future.”

"After Board consideration of Dr Crawford's report and presentation on Monday night there is broad support for change, however, there are a series of recommendations and significant detail to work through together with our stakeholders before any final position is put to our member unions. This work will take place over the coming months.”

Dr Crawford suggested the organisation’s biggest challenges were to:

•    Sustain the financial performance and viability of the Brumbies, despite the relatively weak, in commercial terms, home market;

•    Maintain competitive on-field performances by the Brumbies, despite the Brumbies commercial, and consequent financial, disadvantage; and

•    Maintain a substantial market share in community sport, attracting, serving and retaining players and volunteers.

Mr Hammond now plans to meet with all ACT Clubs within the Union over the next few weeks, to determine the best course of action.