Following recent publicised governance challenges arising within the Fiji Rugby Union (FRU), World Rugby, together with the FRU, the Government of the Republic of Fiji and Fiji Association of Sports and National Olympic Committee (FASANOC), have set out a collaborative roadmap to ensure short-term stability, continuity of current programmes and protect future preparations for major events, while the wider governance topics are addressed on a long-term basis.
World Rugby was made aware of recent governance changes within the FRU, including the cancellation of its Annual General Meeting scheduled on 29 April and the voluntary resignation of all Board Directors effective on 1 May 2023. The Fiji Minister of Justice appointed an Interim Board of Trustees and an Administrator for the FRU and World Rugby engaged in urgent meetings with stakeholders to better understand the issues and how best to support.
The resulting roadmap, endorsed by the World Rugby Council and Executive Board, outlines three pillars to restore stability and ringfence the FRU’s participation in rugby’s international competitions:
- High Performance and Development – to ensure stability and continued success of the international teams’ programmes
- Governance – to ensure governance challenges are resolved with ultimate aim of appointment of duly elected representatives from within the Fiji Rugby structures and adoption of clear constitutional/corporate framework
- Day-to-day administration – to ensure effective day-to-day administration of Fiji Rugby Union
Each pillar has been assigned clear leadership, roles and responsibilities and the overall oversight of the roadmap’s implementation have been granted to Dr Robin Mitchell (President, Oceania National Olympic Committees) and Cathy Wong (Vice-President, Fiji Association of Sports and National Olympic Committee and World Rugby Council representative). A review of the position will be conducted in January 2024.
In line with good governance practice, at its Annual Meeting on Thursday, the World Rugby Council, following a recommendation by its Executive Board, took the decision to suspend the FRU from the international federation’s Council while the robust recovery roadmap is implemented.
During this interim period, the FRU will remain a member of World Rugby subject to compliance with conditions set out within shared roadmap developed by the international federation, the FRU, the Government of Fiji and FASANOC.
This interim solution will allow the FRU to continue its participation in World Rugby tournaments while protecting high performance programmes for Fiji men’s and women’s 15s and sevens programmes. It also ensures that Fiji’s international teams can prepare as normal for the upcoming Rugby World Cup 2023 in France and qualification for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games.