Rugby Australia and ACT Brumbies agree to Integrated Ownership Model

Tue, Jul 9, 2024, 12:27 AM
The Safeguard Global ACT Brumbies have today made an joint announcement together with Rugby Australia.
The Safeguard Global ACT Brumbies have today made an joint announcement together with Rugby Australia.

Rugby Australia (RA) and the ACT & Southern New South Wales Rugby Union (ACT&SNSWRU) have agreed to transfer operational control of the ACT Brumbies to the national governing body, demonstrating their shared commitment to work together to build an aligned high-performance system that will deliver improved results both on and off the field.

As part of the strategic reset and financial stabilisation of Australian Rugby, the ACT&SNSWRU has agreed to transfer ownership of the ACT Brumbies professional rugby operations and related business assets to a newly established entity which is owned and controlled by Rugby Australia.

This transition will fully integrate and align the Brumbies’ professional Rugby operations across high-performance (players, coaches, support staff) and commercial operations (sponsorship, marketing, membership, ticketing) with RA’s high-performance and commercial operations, effective from 1 August 2024.

While this integration aims to streamline operations and enhance overall performance, it will also allow for local delivery and maintain the proud history of the ACT Brumbies, and ensure that the ACT Brumbies teams remain in the national capital, connected to Canberra and the surrounding region, club members, sponsors and key stakeholders.

ACT & SNSWRU will retain full responsibility and accountability for developing the community game, and for delivering programs to grow participation in, and engagement with, grassroots Rugby, working in close collaboration with both the ACT Brumbies and Rugby Australia.

The new ACT Brumbies entity will be governed by its own board of directors comprising representatives nominated by RA, the ACT&SNSWRU and RUPA.

“Through taking on the ACT Brumbies business, Rugby Australia has committed to managing and supporting the organisation through an exciting period for Rugby in Australia,” said ACT Brumbies CEO Phil Thomson.

“From the outset, we have stated publicly that we were willing to work through this over time, in a considered way, in order to ensure mutual benefit and reasonable terms that protect our staff and players.

"We’re encouraged by the collaborative nature and constructive outcomes of the RA-led Rugby summit, which continued last week in Sydney.

“With this positive headway we are committed to the alignment of the high-performance and commercial operations between our club and Rugby Australia, to stabilise our financial position and ensure long term success and we believe this step is in the best interests of, not only the Brumbies and ACT&SNSWRU, but Australian Rugby as a whole.

“It further streamlines the game and allows for the elite levels of the game to be even more aligned in developing outstanding Super Rugby and international players across the country while, at the local level, continues to allow for ACT&SNSWRU to concentrate its resources and investment on growing the community game.”

Rugby Australia CEO Phil Waugh believes an aligned system is essential for the future of Rugby in Australia.

“The Brumbies have been Australia’s most successful Super Rugby franchise on the park, as the only club to win multiple Super Rugby titles, as well as being our best performer in recent seasons of Super Rugby Pacific – and RA is determined to ensure the club remains a force in professional Rugby in this region.

“We have a plan that we are working on to unite the game – and we have agreement from Australia’s professional Rugby stakeholders to pursue an aligned high-performance system and pathways.

“As we have stated, there may be different models across different clubs, however the Brumbies and Waratahs have both seen the potential for great benefit in aligning their commercial operations with RA’s, as we look to achieve maximum commercial return and efficiency for the game.

“I firmly believe that this strategic reset is in the best interests of the game – and crucially, it delivers even greater priority to strengthening the community game; ringfencing investment in the community game and allowing our member unions to focus entirely prioritising the needs of grassroots Rugby free from the distraction of professional Rugby.

“I would like to thank the ACT&SNSWRU Board and Phil Thomson for their collaborative approach to the constructive discussions that have been central to this process.”

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