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World Rugby welcomes Georgia, Romania and USA onto Council

Press Release

  • World Rugby Chairman Bernard Lapasset hails historic day for rugby
  • Expanded representation on Council reflects growing, thriving game
  • Pathway in place for all member unions to work towards Council representation

World Rugby has welcomed Georgia, Romania and the USA on to an expanded Council on an historic day for the international federation.

With a new governance model paving the way for wider representation on World Rugby's Council, the three unions take their place having successfully achieved all of the required good governance criteria as stipulated within the Bye Laws and announced last November.

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Inclusion will also come as an inspiration for other unions aspiring to take a seat at Council with a clear and transparent pathway for all now operational. Other amendments to the composition of Council ahead of the interim meeting in November, include:

  • Georgia, Romania and the USA have achieved governance criteria stipulated within the Bye-Laws following independent analysis and will be entitled to one representative
  • Argentina and Italy, already represented on Council, will each be entitled to a second representative
  • The Nominations Committee will review all members of Council and make a recommendation on voting numbers in accordance with Bye-Law 9.1(e) to the Interim Meeting in November 2016

World Rugby Chairman Bernard Lapasset hailed the governance reforms as a strong legacy of his mandate as he prepares to step down at the end of June after eight years in office.

"This is an historic day for World Rugby and a strong reflection of a sport that continues to reach out, grow and thrive within and beyond its traditional markets."

"We are delighted to be welcoming Georgia, Romania and the USA to Council, three 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."

"This shows that the model is in place, the pathway is in place and the door is open to other unions who aspire to have a seat on Council. 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.

"I would also like to thank Oregan Hoskins, who chaired and steered the governance working group throughout this important process.

For USA Rugby, being elected a member of the World Rugby Council reflects their growing status on the world stage as a union with more than one million players within a nation that is falling in love with the game in record numbers.

USA Rugby Chairman Bob Latham said: "USA Rugby is excited and honoured to be joining the World Rugby Council and would like to thank the World Rugby Governance Working Group and Nominations Committee for delivering this important pathway to inclusion for member unions."

"We look forward to playing a full and active role in World Rugby's efforts to grow the game in the US, across North America and around the world.

Georgia, who enjoyed their best-ever Rugby World Cup campaign at England 2015 and where rugby is the national sport, are looking forward to playing a full role within Council.

Georgia Rugby Union President Gocha Svanidze said: "This is a very special and proud day for Georgian rugby and ambitious rugby unions as a whole, who now have a dedicated pathway and incentive through good governance to membership on the World Rugby Council."

"Georgia looks forward to playing its full part on Council in shaping the future of the game on and off the field and would like to thank Bernard Lapasset and World Rugby for its support during this process.

Romania are also a union on an upward trend as European Nations Cup runners-up and regular Rugby World Cup participants.

Federatia Romana de Rugby President Harry Dumitras said: "This is a momentous day for Rugby in Romania, Europe and indeed for all unions aspiring to join the World Rugby Council."

"We are proud and honoured to have been elected onto Council and will endeavour to serve, protect and promote the game and its character-building values for the betterment of all in rugby.

With the pathway open for all unions, World Rugby will continue to consider applications from unions in line with the governance criteria stipulated within the Bye-Law.

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