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Welsh Rugby Union proposes major reforms in response to alleged sexism and misogyny

Plans to modernise the profile of the WRU will be voted on by clubs at an EGM, with proposals in place to have at least five women on the board; majority of 75 per cent of members required to approve changes

Image: Plans to modernise the profile of the WRU will be voted on in an EGM

The Welsh Rugby Union says either its new chair or chief executive must be female under major reforms proposed in response to allegations of sexism and misogyny within the organisation.

Among the plans to "modernise", the WRU also says its new board will comprise of at least five women and be representative of the diverse rugby communities across Wales.

A majority of 75 per cent of members at an Extraordinary General Meeting (EGM), to be called imminently and no later than Sunday March 26, will need to vote in favour in order to pass the proposals.

The gender imbalance, where the WRU Board currently includes one woman and 11 men, will be corrected by appointing women to at least two of the newly-proposed four independent non-executive directors (INED) positions.

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WRU chairman Ieuan Evans has vowed that an external taskforce will be established to help tackle the recent discrimination allegations

All of the proposals have been unanimously pre-approved by the existing board, led by incumbent chair leuan Evans. He said: "The onus is on us to explain to members the benefits of the proposals we are making and we will do so, but I also think members will understand the necessity of what we are trying to achieve, having had time to reflect on and digest last year's AGM proposals.

"We are asking members to allow us to make significant changes to our constitution, which they won't do lightly and rightly so. But we must also be wholly transparent about the scale of change necessary to ensure the survival of Welsh rugby.

"We need to enact change to ensure our game is able to survive and flourish at all levels in Wales. The proposals address all of the key recommendations from the external review and it is our central plea to members that they allow us to make these changes for the good of the game in Wales.

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Evans says he will take steps to address the culture within the organisation after allegations of sexism emerged in a BBC Wales documentary

"There is a stark choice before us, to wither or flourish and we will be visiting clubs and districts around Wales to explain our mission here and to implore them to vote these vital modernisations through.

"There has been much talk of an existential crisis in Welsh rugby in recent days. Passing these proposals will help us address these issues and many others and ensure we have a modern, fit for purpose, representative board to take Welsh rugby into a new modern era and to restore the trust and pride of those around us."

A version of the headline proposal, that the next WRU chair should be an appointed INED rather than an elected director, was rejected at the WRU's last Annual General Meeting after only receiving 66 per cent of votes in favour.

Further modernisations to be proposed include, increasing the number of INEDs elsewhere on the board, appointing, selecting or electing a board representative with a specific remit to represent the women's and girls' game and reducing the representation of national and district council members.

WRU bans 'Delilah' for rugby internationals

The WRU has also banned 'Delilah', a popular song by Tom Jones that has been a regular feature at Welsh sporting events, from being sung by the choir at the Principality Stadium.

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Acting CEO Nigel Walker says the WRU must rebuild its credibility after the recent discrimination allegations against the governing body

A Principality Stadium spokesperson said: "Delilah will not feature on the playlist for choirs for rugby internationals at Principality Stadium.

"The WRU removed the song from its half-time entertainment and music play list during international matches in 2015. Guest choirs have also more recently been requested not to feature the song during their pre-match performances and throughout games.

"The WRU condemns domestic violence of any kind. We have previously sought advice from subject matter experts on the issue of censoring the song and we are respectfully aware that it is problematic and upsetting to some supporters because of its subject matter."

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