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Volume 6 No. 193

Leagues and Governing Bodies

Outgoing Australian Rugby Union CEO Bill Pulver "hit back at allegations" raised in Monday's final senate inquiry hearing, which suggested former Melbourne Rebels Owner Andrew Cox "siphoned millions of dollars of grant money into non-rugby interests," according to James Buckley of the SYDNEY MORNING HERALD. It was ARU Chair Cameron Clyne's "turn to defend the culling of the Western Force" when he faced questions in Canberra from Senator Linda Reynolds, who alleged up to A$6M of Rebels funding provided by the national body was "funnelled into Cox's various companies." Pulver "rubbished the suggestions" about the former Rebels owner, saying, "My understanding is that's complete nonsense. The funding relationship between the Australian Rugby Union and the Rebels was a confidential document. I am not aware of him siphoning money off into other businesses. Where that's coming from I have no idea" (SMH, 10/18).

Coaches from the Australian Football League Canberra women's league who have worked with transgender athlete Hannah Mouncey said that opposing players "found her physically intimidating, but have backed her right to play in elite female competitions after she was barred from this year's draft," according to Simone Fox Koob of THE AUSTRALIAN. Although her testosterone ­levels were below IOC limits for transgender athletes, the AFL considered the "stage of maturity of the AFLW competition, its current player cohort and Mouncey’s individual circumstances" and found her nomination could not be accepted. AFL Canberra side Gungahlin Jets women's team coach Julian Clarkson said that he watched Mouncey play many times, and "believed there was a contradiction in barring Mouncey from next year’s league but still ­allowing her to play locally." He said, "I've coached against her and I feel terribly sorry for her, to be honest. ... She was intimidating to the girls, but she plays the game fair and how it should be played." Queanbeyan Tigers women's team coach Cheyne Webster said that Tuesday's decision showed the AFL was not "ready to deal with transgender issues." He said, "I think it caught them off guard and I think as a result there will be better measures put in the future" (THE AUSTRALIAN, 10/19).

New Zealand Rugby's affiliate bodies voted 84-8 in favor of "constitutional changes which will promote diversity," according to Ben Strang of STUFF. The changes will see a new make-up of the New Zealand Rugby board, with the number of appointed members "rising from three to six." Three members of the board will be appointed by the Appointments & Remuneration Committee, with a view toward "appointing people with a more diverse set of skills in life and business." At least one woman will be part of the Appointments & Remuneration Committee "from now on." NZR Chair Brent Impey said that the changes "were sparked by a horrid" '16 for the union, which had to "deal with multiple off field issues." Chief among them "was the stripper scandal which embroiled the Chiefs Super Rugby franchise, as the game's respect for women came under scrutiny" (STUFF, 10/18). The NEW ZEALAND HERALD reported currently six of the nine members of the NZR board are "directly elected by Affiliated Provincial Unions." Under the changes, PUs "will now directly elect only three members to the Board and nominate a further three, including the Maori Representative." The committee will "apply an updated range of skills and competency criteria which will seek to ensure a greater skill mix is achieved on the board." Impey said, "This is a major step forward in ensuring best practice governance processes are applied at the board level. The changes should lead to a wider range of board candidates with a greater range of skills and experiences represented at the top table in the future. ... Our recent Respect and Responsibility report identified the need for more diverse leadership at all levels of rugby, which is another criteria we need to consider" (NZ HERALD, 10/18).

England Rugby and Premiership Rugby joined forces to launch Project Rugby, a grassroots project designed to increase participation in under-represented communities. Project Rugby will specifically engage BAME people, as well as those from low socio-economic backgrounds and disabled people, aged 14-24. The project aims to reach more than 12,000 participants by summer '18 (England Rugby).

The National Rugby League will reveal 22 rounds of "Sunday afternoon Sydney blockbusters" in the '18 premiership draw in a move to "lure disgruntled fans back to the venues." The full draw will be unveiled at 10am on Thursday -- six weeks earlier than in previous years -- "to allow clubs to start planning their membership drives and early ticket sales" (Sydney DAILY TELEGRAPH, 10/18).

Taekwondo has "generated the most corruption complaints among South Korean sports," a local lawmaker said. According to Rep. Kwak Sang-do of the Liberty Korea Party, 742 corruption cases were reported to the Ministry of Culture, Sports & Tourism's center for sports corruption between '14 and Aug. '17. The most complaints were reported in taekwondo (106), baseball (71) and football (63) (YONHAP, 10/18).

The Irish Rugby Football Union has been criticized following the advertisement for a new women's head coach on only a "part-time/casual" six-month contract. Tom Tierney, the former head coach who left the role following the 2017 Women's Rugby World Cup, had been appointed on a three-year, full-time contract. Ireland centre Jenny Murphy spoke out over the move to downgrade the length and terms of the head coaching role (London TELEGRAPH, 10/18).