WRU to appoint first woman board member in 133 years

The Welsh Rugby Union (WRU) is set to appoint its first woman board member in its 133 year history.

The appointment is one of the main recommendations of a governance review commissioned by the union and led by High Court judge Sir Robert Owen.

The new board member is set to be one of two new non-executive directors, who will have business rather than rugby experience.

The recommendations would need the backing of the WRU's member clubs at the annual general meeting in October.

The findings of Sir Robert's review are understood to have been placed before the WRU board and have been agreed in principle, but not yet formally endorsed.

'Interesting changes'

The review began in August 2012 and the main points are due to be presented to member clubs shortly.

There has been recent criticism over the make-up of the 18-strong WRU board, with Wales's four professional regions understood to have concerns that there are too few 'non-rugby' voices.

Former WRU chief executive David Moffett, who is campaigning for board election, also called last month for a "target number" of board positions to be held by women by 2020.

The Voluntary Code of Good Governance for the Sport and Recreation Sector which is endorsed by the UK government recommends a maximum of ten people on each board and at least two independent non-executive directors.

A WRU spokesman said: "The WRU can confirm that we have held a review and there are several interesting changes we are considering before the next AGM."

Ruth Holdaway, chief executive of the Women's Sport and Fitness Foundation, told BBC Radio Wales that rugby was one example where a senior woman was in a top sporting job, with Debbie Jevans leading the UK's 2015 Rugby World Cup.

She said more representation of women was still needed.

"The Welsh Rugby Union are doing the right thing by identifying the fact that there are no women on the board as a problem, they're putting something in place now to change that."

But she said the new board member would need to be "supported and respected and are given every opportunity to actually have influence and start to change the culture of sport so that more women... young girls start to see sport as a positive career choice for them".

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