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IRB changes its ways

December 12th, 2012 by · No Comments · Features

The wind of change is also blowing through the International Rugby Board, as Bernard Lapasset promised when he was re-elected chairman a year ago.

The Frenchman’s campaign was based on a desire to change the image of the IRB as being a haunt of battered blazers scheming in smoke-filled rooms and drinking from the well of expediency. He pledged that the Board would become more inclusive, run for the good of all, not just a few.

A start was made when, for the first time, a representative from a tier two nation was elected to the executive committee and a shake-up in the committees left the four home unions, for the first time, without a chairmanship.

The latest, and overdue, reform is to the voting system on the IRB’s council. Eight unions have had two votes since France were invited to the top table more than 30 years ago, the old Five Nations and Tri-Nations countries.

They will now be joined by Italy, who have been members of the Six Nations since 2000, and Argentina, who this year joined with New Zealand, Australia and South Africa to form the Rugby Championship. Their one vote each will turn into two.

If Taione’s prediction is right and the three South Seas islands become increasingly significant players, the influence that the home unions have exerted over the years will start to dissipate and, given the way the game has been run, it will not be before time.

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