Raelene Castle says the Rugby Australia board made it clear she no longer had their confidence. (ABC News)
The ongoing turmoil in Rugby Australia has continued with the resignation of its embattled chief executive, Raelene Castle.
- Raelene Castle said the Rugby Australia board told her the sport needed clear air without her as chief executive
- She said she then resigned from her role
- Before her resignation, Ms Castle told 7.30 in an interview she didn’t think the sport had lost its way
She resigned after the board made it clear late Thursday afternoon that she no longer had its confidence.
In a statement provided exclusively to 7.30, Ms Castle said: “I love rugby on every level and I will always love the code and the people I have had the honour of working with since I took this role.
“I made it clear to the board that I would stand up and take the flak and do everything possible to serve everyone’s best interests.
“In the last couple of hours, it has been made clear to me that the board believes my no longer being the CEO would help give them the clear air they believe they need.
“The game is bigger than any one individual — so this evening I told the chair [Paul McLean] that I would resign from the role.
“I will do whatever is needed to ensure an orderly handover. I wish the code and everyone who loves rugby nothing but the best and I would like to thank the people I work with and the broader rugby community for their enormous support.”
In recent years, Rugby Australia has rolled from controversy to controversy.
It became embroiled in a protracted public and legal row with its star player, Israel Folau, after he posted religious commentary on his social media account at odds with the sport’s values.
There was talk of a fallout with former Wallabies coach Michael Cheika; the sport is running significant debts; the team’s World Cup performance was lacklustre; it has been unable to reach an agreement for broadcast rights, and coronavirus has indefinitely postponed all games.
In addition, this week a number of former Wallabies captains sent a letter to the board demanding a change of administration, saying the sport had “lost its way”.
In an interview with 7.30 recorded just before the board made it clear to Ms Castle that her position was no longer tenable, she was asked if the sport needed a change of leadership to give it a clean slate.
“Do I think the sports lost its way? No, I don’t,” she said.
“I am very keen to have a chat to [the former Wallaby captains].
“The board and I have invited them to come and have a chat to us, hopefully so that we can explain some of the work that’s been done to try and reshape the sport over the last wee while, and also take on board the positive ideas that they’ve got to give to us.”
Rugby Australia has yet to comment.