The report, by consultants Spectrum Value Partners and entitled "Putting Rugby First", labels the IRB as undemocratic, unrepresentative and shackled by the voting structure that gives the eight founding unions a permanent veto (although mysteriously the words " free-loading old farts" are omitted).
To prove its point the report claims that half of the world's four million registered players are in England (which begs the question why are we still so rubbish?) and that 97 per cent of those who watched the last World Cup came from the founding unions of England, Wales, Ireland, Scotland, France, New Zealand, Australia and South Africa.
It also cites, as evidence of the IRB's failure to ensure that the game develops globally:
- The failure to secure a place for Rugby Sevens in the 2012 Olympic Games, despite the fact rugby first appeared in the Olympics in 1900;
- The inability to accommodate Argentina into a regularly-scheduled international rugby calendar before 2012 at the earliest – despite Argentina finishing third at the last Rugby World Cup; and
- The decision to host the next Rugby World Cup in New Zealand, a small, rugby-saturated market, rather than in Japan, a springboard to the fast-growing Asian economies...
...none of which you can really argue against.
The report is being sent to rugby stakeholders around the world: administrators, players, referees, government ministers, commercial partners, journalists and influential supporters. It claims to provide an independent perspective on rugby’s current status, identify some of the underlying problems and proposes how to help solve them. The intention, it says, is to start a debate among rugby’s stakeholders about how to become truly global and secure the future of the game
To download the report click here.