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6. World Rugby


World Rugby shall consist of Member Unions and Member Associations.

BYE-LAW 6.            WORLD RUGBY

(a) World Rugby shall consist of Member Unions and Member Associations. 

(b) The Executive Committee shall initially consider applications for membership of World Rugby made by Non-Member Unions and Non-Member Associations. The Executive Committee is entitled to make recommendations to the Council as to whether the Non-Member Union or Non-Member Association should be admitted as a member and if so whether on the basis of full or associate membership. For the avoidance of doubt and notwithstanding any recommendation of the Executive Committee, Council has the ultimate authority to decide whether to admit a Non-Member Union and/or Non-Member Association to membership of World Rugby and to determine whether such Non-Member Union and/or Non-Member Association shall be a full or associate member, in each case only following a recommendation by the Executive Committee.

(c) Non-Member Unions or Non-Member Associations who wish to be considered for membership of World Rugby must demonstrate compliance with the World Rugby Membership Pathway and Membership Criteria established by Council from time to time and set out in detail at Such criteria may change from time to time as determined by Council and without notice to non-members.

(d) Membership of World Rugby is open to national rugby unions based in a country or territory where such unions are solely responsible for governing rugby union’s sporting, technical and general organisation and implementation of all rugby related matters.

(e) Member Unions must ensure that elections to their governing body(ies) take place pursuant to a free and independent democratic process which conforms with applicable national legislation and the requirements of the Common Association Constitution.

(f)  Without limiting the effect of Regulation 19.4.1(d) in relation to the full suspension and/or expulsion of a Member Union or Member Association in the event of a breach of the Bye-Laws and/or Regulations, Member Unions or Member Associations that do not meet membership criteria and/or other conditions governing their membership of World Rugby may have their membership provisionally suspended or be reverted to associate membership status by the Executive Committee pending a meeting of the Council for any reason that the Executive Committee determines is appropriate. Only the Council shall be entitled to fully suspend and/or expel a Member Union or Member Association from membership of World Rugby.

(g)  A Member Union or Member Association may be expelled or suspended from World Rugby membership or reverted to associate membership status (temporarily or on a permanent basis) by Council for any reason that Council determines to be appropriate provided that it is supported by a majority of at least three quarters of the votes allocated to the Representatives present and entitled to vote at the Council meeting.

(h)  A Member Union may be suspended or expelled from World Rugby membership pursuant to these Bye-Laws and/or the Regulations if state authorities interfere in its affairs in such a manner that:

(i) it may no longer be considered as fully responsible for the organisation of rugby related matters in its territory; or

(ii) in the opinion of Council or the Executive Committee it is no longer in a position to perform its constitutional and regulatory tasks in an appropriate manner.

Click here for World Rugby Member Union resources.