Robertson backs RFU overhaul
December 1, 2011
RFU acting chief executive Stephen Brown and PGB chairman and RFU board member Ian Metcalfe address the media at Twickenham © Getty Images
Sports minister Hugh Robertson has welcomed the Rugby Football Union's (RFU) plans to reform, claiming that the existing structure was "a throwback to a previous era".
The English game's governing body is in the process of evaluating a number of proposed changes to the way in which the organisation is both set up and rung. Robertson, for his part, believes that it is essential that the RFU moves with the times.
"I don't think the governance structure, as currently constituted, is really good enough to run the game in the modern era," he told Press Association Sport.
"It looks a bit like a throwback to the previous era. If you compare the RFU with any commercial model it would fall far short.
"The 'council dictates to the board dictates to the executive' model was great 20-30 years ago but in a modern well-financed business-orientated world it is not the most efficient way to run the game.
"The future governance of the RFU will depend on the Slaughter and May report and what the RFU do with it.
"The crucial thing is the RFU implement them (the recommendations). That is not going to be easy. "If there are people who are afraid of change and kick this into the long grass then you will have broadly the same structure and there is no reason why this won't occur again in the future.
"The important thing is that rugby realises this is an opportunity to move forward, to get its governance structures to run the modern professional game and that we put England rugby on a much better footing - both in governance and high performance systems - than has been the case up to now."
As part of the management shake-up announced on Wednesday, Rob Andrew has been appointed Professional Rugby Director but the former England fly-half will no longer oversee the affairs of the national team. In future, the England boss will report directly to the chief executive, who is set to be unveiled in a fortnight, and the board.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
The Scotland coach enters his first Six Nations with at least one familiar face to look to for inspiration - Joe Schmidt. He chats to Tom Hamilton
Italy coach Jacques Brunel spoke to ESPN ahead of his final season as Italy coach and tells of his desire to experiment and evolve
"There's no bull with me, I just tell it straight." Tom Hamilton talks to Warren Gatland in an exclusive interview
With the retirement of Adam Jones, Welsh rugby says goodbye to a great player and one of its biggest personalities too, writes Tom Hamilton