IRB and IRPA sign historic deal
October 16, 2007

The International Rugby Board (IRB) and the International Rugby Players' Association (IRPA) have joined forces to ensure greater dialogue on matters of importance to professional players and the Game.

The historic agreement was ratified by the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between both parties. The MOU was signed by IRB Chairman Dr Syd Millar and IRPA Chairman Damian Hopley at the IRB's General Assembly held in Paris on October 15.

"The IRB is pleased to be entering into this new phase of our relationship with IRPA," said Dr Millar. "Without the players there is no Game. The signing of this Memorandum of Understanding with IRPA is another important step in our strengthening of consultation between the IRB and the Game's key stakeholders."

"The agreement will see both parties work closely together to develop a positive and mutually beneficial relationship based upon shared purpose and a unified approach to issues facing the Game such as Player Welfare, while recognising the unique spirit, structure and ethos of the Game of Rugby Union." "The Memorandum of Understanding between the IRB and IRPA will in no way affect the existing relationship between the players and their Unions," added Dr Millar.

The International Rugby Players Association (IRPA) is the representative body for professional Rugby players on international issues of importance to the professional players and the Game. IRPA membership consists of: RUPA (Australia), NZRPA (New Zealand), SARPA (South Africa), PROVALE (France), IRUPA (Ireland), WRPA (Wales), SPRA (Scotland) and the PRA (England).

"Establishing a positive working relationship with the IRB, its Member Unions and other stakeholders will allow us to continue to progress safety, welfare and educational initiatives on behalf of the world's professional players" said IRPA Chairman and English Players Association boss Damian Hopley "It also provides us with the opportunity to have a meaningful, positive and proactive input into the ongoing development of the game"

IRPA CEO and head of the New Zealand Rugby Players' Association Rob Nichol said the game of Rugby faces many opportunities and important decisions at both a professional and amateur level in the years ahead. "Unity and cooperation are essential to ensure these opportunities are maximized for Rugby" said Nichol. "The recognition and opportunities created through this arrangement are significant for the players and we thank the IRB and its Member Unions for their willingness to enter into it."

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