‘Calls for the board to resign are a distraction’: NZR rejects Players Association recommendation


New Zealand Rugby (NZR) have described the players’ union call for the board to step down while governance reforms are carried out as a distraction and not in spirit of the review which triggered the planned changes.

The governing body of the country’s favourite sport is at loggerheads with the provincial rugby unions over the exact formulation of the new leadership structure of the game.

The New Zealand Rugby Players Association (NZRPA) released a on Tuesday saying they backed neither side and wanted the full recommendations of last year’s governance review to be enacted

In order to achieve this aim they made a raft of recommendations, including that the entire NZR board should stand down and an interim appointments panel be set up.

“The NZR board welcomes the NZRPA’s perspective outlined this week on governance reform, which reflects significant points of agreement with NZR’s proposal to deliver that reform,” NZR said in a statement on Friday

“Calls for the current NZR board to stand down are a distraction and do not accurately reflect the findings of the governance review, which was focused on governance reform at a high level rather than any concerns around the perceived performance of the current board.”

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NZR chairwoman Patsy Reddy said last month she would review her position if her proposed board reforms were scuppered. The new leadership structure proposed by Reddy calls for all members of the board to be independent.

New Zealand Rugby Chair Dame Patsy Reddy. (Photo by Michael Bradley/Getty Images)

The 26 provincial unions have drawn up an alternative proposal which demands that at least three of the nine members have two years’ experience on one of their boards.

“The NZR board remains committed to the principle of an independent board, an independent process for board appointments and a well-managed transition period,” Friday’s statement added.

“The board’s focus is on working with our voting members on the details of a resolution they will support to achieve that objective of a shift to an independent model of governance.”

The governance review was commissioned in December 2022 after NZR secured a NZ$200 million ($119.78 million) cash injection by selling a stake in its commercial business to U.S. private equity firm Silver Lake.

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