New Zealand Rugby Begin Implementation of ‘Respect and Responsibility’ Report

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New Zealand Rugby Union AGM
WELLINGTON, NEW ZEALAND - APRIL 27: Chairman Brent Impey speaks during the New Zealand Rugby Union Annual General Meeting at New Zealand Rugby House on April 27, 2017 in Wellington, New Zealand. (Photo by All Blacks Collection/Getty Images)

Professional rugby players will now face even more pressure to behave well off the field, following the release of a new ‘Respect and Responsibility’ report backed by New Zealand Rugby.

You could argue that it was inevitable, following a string of off-field scandals, New Zealand Rugby (NZR) today welcomed the findings and recommendations of the new report.

A personal development programme will require players to enter a new incubation system that aims to see “good young men who are successful in sport and life”. The key words in that being incubation system. This was identified as the first primary goal set out in the report.

New Zealand Rugby Fully Supports Respect and Responsibility Review Panel 

A total of 91 recommendations were made in the report, including 36 actions to take place in the short-term. The review covers some of the aspirational goals:
  • Inclusive Leadership
  • Progressive
  • Empowering Gender Equality
  • Integrity
  • Respectful
  • World Leading

The review panel was led by Kathryn Beck (see above video), President of the New Zealand Law Society and supported by a panel that comprised Jackie Barron, Lisa Carrington, Kate Daly, Liz Dawson, David Howman, Sir Michael Jones, Keven Mealamu and Dr Deb Robinson.

Robyn Cockburn was the researcher and author.

More Pressure On Rugby Players To ‘Be Good’ Off The Field

It’s a dividing argument, but are the days of professional sportsmen being judged only on their craft gone? Yes, they are.

Social media has meant an influx of cameras on players when conducting business, often as it pertains to their activities away from the field. NZR realise this, and with the recent scandals off the field, the culture of the sport has been under scrutiny.

36 cases of misconduct were investigated by NZR in the past four years, 33 of which involved players. The new Respect and Responsibility policy will endeavour to see that this number decreases over the next four years, and it also forces players to further educate themselves around ‘being good people’.

How Does New Zealand Rugby Ensure it is All Implemented? 

NZR say that they will consult with key stakeholders and work together with them to ensure that the reports’ recommendations are implemented in a sustainable manner.

All in all, it’s an eight year process for NZR. Each of the aspirational goals will see roll outs in the short term; including an initial stocktake of diversity across all levels of rugby. There are mid term goals, and many long term goals recommended by the panel.

New Zealand Rugby will also begin the process of developing a new ‘charter’ which captures the values that the organisation want to deliver on.

 

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