Following the decision of the Melbourne Rebels Board to enter voluntary administration on the evening of Monday 29th January the Rugby Victoria (RV) Board met on Tuesday to discuss the implications of this decision for the game we all love here in Victoria.
While RV has been the custodian of the Melbourne Rebels on behalf of the Victorian Rugby community since 2017, the Melbourne Rebels Rugby Union Pty Ltd, is a stand-alone company with its own governance structures and Board that includes three Directors in common with RV. The RV Board would like to make clear that, while the current situation is unsettling, we do not anticipate the change in control of the Melbourne Rebels will have any significant impact on the day-to-day operations of Community Rugby here in Victoria.
The RV Board has accepted the resignation of Paul Docherty, given his position on the RV Board was held in his capacity as Chairman of the Melbourne Rebels, a position he has now relinquished. The RV Board acknowledges and thanks Docs for his considerable contribution of time and seemingly boundless energy focussed on the betterment of rugby in Victoria.
RV President, Neil Hay and Finance Director, Owain Stone also offered their resignations given their roles as directors of both RV and the Melbourne Rebels. Both the positions of President and Finance Director are due for election at the forthcoming Rugby Victoria AGM scheduled for 18 March 2024.
As we work through the governance changes required following the Rebels change in ownership over the next few weeks, the RV Board determined that while we will need to be alert for any tensions or conflicts of interest, these can be carefully managed. There are great benefits in retaining the institutional and corporate knowledge held by both Neil and Owain in the relatively short time frame involved. Furthermore, the Board felt the question of office holders for RV is a matter best left to the wider Victorian rugby community at the upcoming AGM.
During this transition period, while the Melbourne Rebels are under administration, and discussions with Rugby Australia continue about their future, in any matters that have the potential to represent a conflict of interest for the Directors of both the Melbourne Rebels and Rugby Victoria, RV will be represented by Vice President, Elizabeth Radcliffe, and/or Directors MaryJane Crabtree and Anthony Wright.
Any individuals who may be interested in seeking nomination for the Board, particularly those with suitable qualifications and experience to fulfil the role of Finance Director are encouraged to discuss this with any members of the current RV Board or Acting CEO, Shelley Nowlan.
We want to assure you, the Victorian rugby community, of our unwavering commitment to upholding the highest standards of governance and transparency at Rugby Victoria. The RV Board is extremely grateful for the ongoing support of the Victorian Rugby community – the people we serve. We are focused on delivering a great club season in 2024 and continuing to support the ongoing growth and strengthening of rugby here in Victoria for years to come.
The RV Board remains committed to keeping you informed as the situation develops.