15 June 2023

Premiership Rugby launches powerful new Sporting Commission

15 June 2023

Premiership Rugby has launched a Sporting Commission in what chief executive Simon Massie-Taylor believes is “a landmark moment” for the organisation.

The seven-strong group will be chaired by Nigel Melville and includes former England captain Tom Wood.

Massie-Taylor and Premiership Rugby’s rugby director Phil Winstanley, meanwhile, will be joined by Women in Football director Jane Purdon, Ministry of Justice board member Mark Rawlinson and financial services executive Carys Williams.

As part of its remit, the commission will now rule over matters such as season structure, Premiership Rugby regulations and player-loading.

It will also have full delegated authority from the Premiership Rugby board to decide on matters relating to sporting and regulatory issues, as well as impose sanctions in accordance with Premiership Rugby regulations.

The move comes after the most damaging season in Premiership history saw three clubs – Wasps, Worcester and London Irish – enter administration.

A 13-club league less than a year ago now stands at 10 teams, with the commission, which has decision-making powers, set to transform Premiership Rugby’s operations.

Launching the Sporting Commission is a landmark moment for Premiership Rugby as we transform our ways of working

PRL said the commission’s objectives included that decision-making on sporting and regulatory matters “operates in the best interests of the league as a whole and independent from the clubs.”

Massie-Taylor said: “Launching the Sporting Commission is a landmark moment for Premiership Rugby as we transform our ways of working.

“Improving our governance structures with independent thinking and scrutiny is key to strong foundations and our future success.

“Having already met as a group, it is clear that the energy and expertise of our independent experts will help Premiership Rugby deliver change.”

And Melville, who is also chairman of Premiership Rugby’s investor board, added: “Putting together this innovative new group has been possible thanks to the efforts and support of our Premiership Rugby clubs.

“Our goal has always been to strengthen our governance and make internal decision-making more agile, whilst also bringing about greater independence to any contentious issues.”

The commission will meet eight times a year or more, and provide a quarterly update to the investor board.

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