Saturday 17 November 2018

RFU boss calls for change in governance of Six Nations

Jacob Stockdale scores Ireland’s third try on their way to lifting the Six Nations trophy and the Triple Crown at Twickenham. Andy Cosslett, the chairman of the Rugby Football Union, has claimed the competiton was no longer fit for purpose. Photo: PA Wire.
Jacob Stockdale scores Ireland’s third try on their way to lifting the Six Nations trophy and the Triple Crown at Twickenham. Andy Cosslett, the chairman of the Rugby Football Union, has claimed the competiton was no longer fit for purpose. Photo: PA Wire.

Gavin Mairs

There is mounting pressure for an overhaul of the governance of the Six Nations Championship after Andy Cosslett, the chairman of the Rugby Football Union, claimed it was no longer fit for purpose.

The Six Nations Council is considering the governance review that was carried out by former RFU chief executive Ian Ritchie.

It is understood that Ritchie's findings call for a greater degree of independence on the Six Nations council, including the appointment of an independent chairman and non-executive directors.

Cosslett, who has seen at first hand the benefits of the introduction of independent directors to the RFU board following its political meltdown after the 2011 World Cup, said it was time the Six Nations embraced a similar change.

"I think there has to be the courage to change," Cosslett said. "I think you have to distinguish between bad habits and great traditions and I think there are enough learnings around now, from not just what we have done in our governance.

"I believe that is something they (Six Nations council) are going to have to pay a lot of attention to. Even though our (England's) results were very disappointing this year, this season's championship has lived up to its reputation and probably attracted more people to it than ever before.

Tipping "But I think that change is due. There is a tipping point, an inflection point and I think we are probably at it in terms of knowing what the future looks like. When the world changes around you and you are reliant on fitting into it, you absolutely have to make sure that your structures and processes are fit for purpose and at the moment I would probably say that they are not."

Financial pressures on each of the unions have also turned a greater spotlight on the championship to drive revenues.

Revenues are expected to rise by around 10 per cent from this year's championship despite the last-minute, short-term sponsorship deal struck with NatWest after a more lucrative long-term deal from the bank was originally rejected.

There are also understood to be several companies which have declared an interest in the title sponsorship next season.

Cosslett, however, believes that improvements can be made.

"You need the rugby experience which we hear a lot about, but you also need people who are very experienced in commercial management," he added.

"You have got to have both things and I am not quite sure we have got that balance right. I know we haven't." (© Daily Telegraph, London)

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