World Rugby has appointed Neil Hallett as its first Independent Ethics Officer, supporting the adoption of the international federation’s new Integrity Code, which was a key outcome of its recent wide-ranging and independent-led governance review. 

Hallett brings a wealth of experience to the role, having served in the New Zealand Police for 35 years, retiring in 2020 as Detective Inspector, working across multiple national jurisdictions and cultures. He also joins with significant sports integrity and intelligence experience, having worked across a number of sports, including three World Cups in different sports in New Zealand.  

In his role, Hallett will act independently of World Rugby and his responsibilities include the assessment of eligibility of persons to be appointed as World Rugby officials, and investigating potential breaches of the Integrity Code. This underpins the organisation’s central strategic vision of a global sport for all – true to its values.  

Sir Hugh Robertson - World Rugby governance review group
British Olympic Committee Chair and Minister in charge of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, Sir Hugh Robertson talks about how transformational restructuring of key areas will strengthen the effectiveness, agility and representative nature of World Rugby’s governance structures

The new Integrity Code reflects best-practice in corporate and sporting governance and underscores World Rugby’s strategic mission to uphold the integrity of the sport. The Code includes the adoption and maintenance of a fit and proper person vetting test for World Rugby officials.   

World Rugby Chairman, Sir Bill Beaumont said: “When I was re-elected as World Rugby Chairman, reforming and strengthening World Rugby’s governance structures was a key priority, central to rugby’s ability to accelerate global growth responsibly.  

“We have not stood still in implementing the transformational recommendations of the independent-led review and the appointment of Neil Hallett as the Independent Ethics Officer is central to that process, supporting the adoption of a new Integrity Code. 

“Neil brings with him a wealth of investigative and ethics experience across the public and private sectors. He also has significant international sporting experience and has run investigations across sports, while supporting intelligence across major event hosting, helping to keep teams and fans safe.” 

The independent-led governance review has transformed and strengthened the effectiveness, agility and representative nature of World Rugby’s governance structures to further reflect and serve the universality and diversity of rugby and support robust decision-making processes for the betterment of the global game.  

The comprehensive review also resulted in a new merit-based classification of unions to replace the tier structure, new targets on widening female, independence, player and nation/region representation within World Rugby’s committees, and the adoption of a new Integrity Code to include the standards and vetting process for the international federation’s officials.