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Thursday, May 11, 2017
Big Rule Changes Announced in Rugby
Regulation 8 change follows detailed review and union consultation and is designed to create a framework that protects the integrity and credibility of international rugby

• Residency period extended from 36 consecutive months to 60 consecutive months

• Council approves expanded voting rights for Argentina and Japan

• Bernard Laporte elected onto the World Rugby EXCO

An historic programme of reform of rugby’s international eligibility regulation has been approved by World Rugby Council today at its special meeting in Kyoto, Japan.

Designed to promote and protect the integrity and sanctity of international rugby in the modern elite environment, follows a root-and-branch review of Regulation 8 with Council members unanimously approving the recommended increase in the required residency period to be eligible for international rugby from 36 to 60 months.

The reformed Regulation 8 ensures that a player has a genuine, close, credible and established link with the nation of representation and the key amendments are:

• The 36-month residency requirement is increased to 60 months with effect from 31 December, 2020 (unanimously approved)

• The addition of a residency criteria which permits players who have 10 years of cumulative residency to be eligible (effective May 10, 2017) (unanimously approved)

• Unions may no longer nominate their U20s team as their next senior national representative team (effective 1 January, 2018) (majority)

• Sevens players will only be captured for the purposes of Regulation 8 where the player has represented either of (i) the senior national representative sevens team of a union where the player has reached the age of 20 on or before the date of participation; or (ii) the national representative sevens team of a union in the Olympic Games or Rugby World Cup Sevens, having reached the age 20 on or before the date of participation in such tournament, (effective 1 July, 2017) (majority)

The landmark decision follows agreement on a long-term optimised global international calendar beyond 2019 and represents another major reform for World Rugby Chairman Bill Beaumont and Vice-Chairman Agustín Pichot in the first year of their four-year mandate.

Beaumont said: “This reform of Regulation 8 governing eligibility is an important and necessary step to protecting the integrity and credibility of international rugby. This extension to the residency period within a forward-thinking reform package will ensure a close, credible and established link between a union and players, which is good for rugby and good for fans.

Bernard Laporte elected onto World Rugby EXCO

Council also unanimously elected Bernard Laporte (France) on to the World Rugby Executive Committee. Laporte, who ran against Mark Alexander, replaces Pierre Camou.

Argentina and Japan receive additional vote on Council

Council approved the recommendation from EXCO that Argentina and Japan receive an additional vote each (with no representative) in line with the governance criteria. Both will receive three votes on the decision-making body with immediate effect.

Bernard Laporte and Serge Simon (both France) were appointed to the Rugby and Regulations committees respectively. Alfredo Gavazzi (Italy) was appointed to the Budget Advisory Committee, Claudia Betancur (Colombia) was appointed to the Women’s Advisory Committee and Trevor Gregory (Asia Rugby) was appointed Regional Advisory Chairman in accordance with the rotation policy. John O’Driscoll (Ireland) was appointed chairman of the Anti-Doping Advisory Committee. Steve Tew (New Zealand) chaired his first Audit and Risk Committee and provided that report to Council.
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