RFL Governance Review paves ways for sustained success

Date published: Friday, July 20, 2012

The RFL is to build on its status as one of the most effective and respected National Governing Bodies in UK sport by enhancing the way in which the sport is governed.

At the organisation’s Annual General Meeting held at Hull Kingston Rovers yesterday, the RFL Council received the recently conducted Review of Governance in Rugby League prepared by eminent sports lawyer and RFL Interim Chairman Maurice Watkins.

Watkins said: “The system of governance employed by Rugby League is rightly regarded as a model for others to follow, but given the recent departure of long term RFL chairman Richard Lewis, we believe it was right to pause and reflect on whether it was still appropriate to meet the challenges that we all face.”

The review concluded that Rugby League governance was ostensibly sound but it did make a number of recommendations where further improvements will allow the game to make the most of its opportunities for success.

The recommendations in the 32-page Watkins Review of Rugby League Governance were very well received when they were presented to the RFL’s member clubs and organisations.

The key recommendations in the Review were that the sport should remain governed by a single, unified governing body with a majority of independent directors.

Recruitment for a non-Executive Chairman will begin immediately and Community Game representation on the RFL Council will be expanded to mirror that of the RFL Community Board.  In addition, the Review suggested a modification to the RFL’s distribution share formula and the introduction of a Chairman’s Charter to underpin the renewed spirit of collaboration.

The findings follow an extensive consultation process involving all the RFL’s key stakeholders over a three-month period and the report’s author is delighted by the candid and constructive responses he encountered.

“Rugby League’s governance model is widely recognised by other sports as one of the most effective in the country and it is clear that this view is shared throughout the game itself,” said Watkins, the senior non-Executive member of the RFL’s independent Board of Directors.

“The vast majority of responses from our stakeholders were that the RFL Board must remain independent and retain governance and management of the sport at all levels.”

In addition to reporting on Rugby League Governance, the Review supported RFL Chief Executive Nigel Wood’s recommendation that a number of RFL strategic policies also be reviewed.

“What came across loud and clear was a desire for a spirit of collective responsibility and transparency which will enable all sections of the game and the governing body to work together more closely on shared goals,” Watkins added.

The Watkins Review of Rugby League Governance can be downloaded by visiting www.therfl.co.uk//~rflmedia/docs/RFL_TheWatkinsReview.pdf