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Constitution of the Army Rugby Union


The Aim of the Army Rugby Union (ARU) is to promote and foster the game of Rugby Union in the Army and its local communities in accordance with the Laws of the Game promulgated by the Rugby Football Union (RFU).


  1. To meet the Aim the ARU shall pursue the following objectives:
    1. General – Provide an infrastructure for Army Rugby such that no potential participant is denied the opportunity to play.
    2. Representative Rugby – Select and maintain at Senior, Development Academy, Veterans and Women’s levels Fifteens, Tens and Sevens team, as appropriate and agreed, to represent the Army. To provide a standard of rugby that will develop and promote those with talent for higher honours. In addition the ARU shall seek to support the work of the Combined Services Rugby Football Club Committee. (Further details can be found on the Representative Rugby page).
    3. Coaching – Maintain a formal coaching structure to improve and thereafter sustain the standards throughout the Army and to provide a structure for the advancement of coaches. (Further details can be found on the Coaching page).
    4. Referees – Maintain the Army Rugby Union Referees Society (ARURS) to improve and sustain the standards of refereeing in the Army. To facilitate the training, development and advancement of referees and to the appropriate links with the Combined Services Rugby Referees and other referees societies. (Further details can be found on the Referees (ARURS) page).
    5. Competitions – Organise and run annually,for clubs in the UK and BA(G), the ARU Premiership, Community Cup and Shield Competitions to provide a competitive element at Major and Minor Unit level throughout the season irrespective of the ability of the participants. In addition the ARU may approve or organize other competitions which support the aim of the ARU, including:
      1. The Inter Corps League Tables.
      2. The Army Inter Corps Fifteens Championship.
      3. The Army Sevens Tournament.

      The rules for each competition are published annually. These can be found on the ARU website. All competitions shall be played under the Laws of Rugby Union and shall comply with the Rules and Bye Laws of the RFU. (Further details can be found on the Competitions page).

    6. Finance – Maintain a sound financial base, thereby providing the best service to Rugby Union in the Army, within budget, and in accordance with the priorities agreed by the Management Board.
    7. Publicity – Explore all avenues to promote Army Rugby Union ( and thereby the Army) both within and outside of the Services.
    8. Relations with the RFU – Maintain a close and binding relationship with the RFU, taking all appropriate measures to promote Army Rugby at national and international levels, and seeking opportunities to support the RFU’s community rugby initiative.
    9. Injury and Safety – Promote standards of play and discipline such that all players and officials are placed at the least possible risk, whilst ensuring that all participating teams are fully insured via the RFU insurance scheme.
    10. Reviews – The Objectives of the ARU are reviewed by the Management Board, as required, and by the Council annually. If agreed, any recommended changes are to be announced at the Annual General Meeting. Agreed objectives based on paragraph 2 above are to be promulgated to members of Union through the Annual Management Plan.
  2. The Objectives of the ARU are reviewed by the Management Board, as required, and by the Council annually. If agreed, any recommended changes are to be announced at the Annual General Meeting. Agreed objectives based on paragraph 2 above are to be promulgated to members of Union through the Annual Management Plan.

  4. Name. The name of the Union shall be ‘The Army Rugby Union’. The abbreviated version shall be ‘ARU’. The emblem of the Union, granted by King George V in 1911, and monitored thereafter by the Lord Chancellor’s office, shall be the Royal Cypher surmounting the letters ‘ARU’.
  5. Clubs in Affiliation. All properly constituted clubs (as defined from time to time by the RFU) consisting predominantly of serving soldiers (Regular or Territorial) shall be eligible for affiliation to the ARU. Only clubs affiliated to the ARU may play Rugby Union under the auspices of the Army. As depicted in ‘Games & Sports in the Army’ the ARU may only represent bona fide clubs and members of such clubs.
  6. Relationship to RFU. The ARU is a Constituent Body of the RFU and is represented on the RFU Council. Clubs affiliated to the ARU which conform to the RFU requirements on what constitutes a ‘club’ may seek affiliation to the RFU. Current requirements include:
    • a. Nomination of a Chairman, Secretary and Treasurer.
    • b. A Fixture list of 12 matches per season against at least 4 different teams.
    • c. A Constitution.
  7. The Officers of the Union. The officers of the Union shall be appointed by the Council as follows:

    Deputy Presidents (Not more than four)
    Representative on the RFU Council (See para 12)

  8. Vice Patrons. Periodically, the ARU may wish to recognise and thereby honour individuals who have given particularly outstanding service to rugby union in general or the Army in particular. Such Vice Patrons shall be invited by the President on the advice of the Council.
  9. President. The President is ex officio a Vice Patron of the Union. After consultation with the Chairman ARU, the outgoing President shall invite an agreed successor to become President of the Union.
  10. Deputy President. Deputy Presidents, who shall be serving officers, shall be appointed by the President both as a singular honour and, from time to time, to undertake duties on behalf of the ARU. Normally a maximum of four such Deputies shall be appointed each for a period of three years. They may be re-elected at a General Meeting to fill a vacancy if it is considered to be in the interests of the ARU. Deputy Presidents shall be invited to attend the Inter-Services matches and other functions as decided by the Council.
  11. Honorary Life Vice Presidents. From time to time the ARU may wish to honour an individual who has contributed substantially to the furtherance of the Union. The ARU may do so by inviting and thereafter appointing such an individual to be an Honorary Life Vice President. Normally the appointment shall be announced at the AGM. Honorary Life Vice Presidents shall be invited to attend the Inter-Services matches and other functions as decided by the Union. Honorary Life Vice Presidents would expect to be called upon to assist the Union in appropriate circumstances.
  12. RFU Council Member. The ARU shall appoint one member to the RFU Council who will be voted in annually at the AGM.
  13. ARU Management Board. The Army Rugby Union Management Board, listed in the preamble, shall:
    • a. Manage the affairs of the Union, determine policy and have full power and authority over the use, disposition and investment of ARU funds. It shall execute all powers and functions not exclusively reserved for General Meetings (GM) or specified in these Bye-Laws.
    • b. Shall meet not less than four times per year. A quorum will comprise four voting members (See sub para d) and the Chairman (or temporary Chairman sub para c) shall have a casting vote, in addition to the first vote.
    • c. If the Chairman is absent and has not appointed a deputy to act in his stead, the Board must elect a temporary Chairman.
    • d. Each has the power of voting except the Secretary who is ex officio. The Chairman may however co-opt non-voting attendance only members to attend from time to time to lend their expertise on specific subjects, or to lend balance to a particular debate.
    • e. The Board has no power to amend the Bye-Laws without the authorisation of a GM.
  14. ARU Council. The ARU Council (listed in the preamble) is to act as a forum at which all elements of the game in the Army are represented. All full members are voting members. Council, by a simple majority vote, may call a Special General Meeting. Council members may be nominated for appointments by the Chairman or clubs through their Divisions/District or equivalent representative. The Chairman, via a simple majority vote in Council, shall invite the nominee to join the Council or Management Board in the designated appointment.
  15. Annual General Meetings (AGM). The AGM shall be held annually as directed by the Management Board. Each club within the Union may send one representative to such meetings, exclusive of any member of their club serving on the Council who shall be entitled to vote. Current members of the Individual Membership Scheme may attend and be entitled to one ‘block’ vote cast through the Secretary. The Secretary shall convene a Special General Meeting (SGM) at any time by order of the Council or on receiving a request to that effect signed by the Secretaries, and within the authority of their Committees, of not less than ten percent of those clubs affiliated to the ARU, specifying the objects for which such SGM shall be called.
  16. Bye-Laws Nomenclature.
    • a. Bye-Laws of the Game. Each club affiliated to the ARU shall be furnished with a copy of the Bye-Laws of the Game and be bound thereby. In cases of infringement, the Council may suspend such clubs from the Union subject to an appeal to a SGM, lodged within seven days of the Council’s decision. The SGM shall be held within fourteen days of the appeal being lodged with the Secretary.
    • b. Meaning. Any difference of opinion arising as to the meaning of these Bye-Laws shall be decided by the Council; should it occur at a SGM, the Chairman of the Meeting shall have the power of arbitration. Any such decisions will be recorded in the Minutes and will be accepted as the true meaning of the Bye-Laws until otherwise interpreted at a meeting of the Council, after due notice has been given.
    • c. Amendments. No Bye-Law will be added, altered or rescinded without the consent of at least two-thirds of those members present at a GM. Twenty shall form a quorum. The Chairman shall have the casting vote.
    • d. Notice of Amendment. Notice of any proposed amendment or alteration of the Bye-Laws will be given by clubs in writing through Division/District representatives or Corps Secretaries to the Secretary at least four weeks before the GM at which the amendment or alteration is to be proposed. Such proposed amendments or alterations will be duly notified to all clubs in affiliation through all Divisions/Districts etc, at least three weeks prior to the GM. It will then be open to any club to forward notice of a change to any amendment or alteration thus advertised, and to no other. Such notice is to be given at least two weeks before the GM and duly notified to Division/District for promulgation to clubs and other representatives at least seven days before the GM.
  17. Discipline. The ARU is empowered by the RFU to investigate and suspend any club or any member of their body for misconduct of any kind. Members have the right of appeal to the RFU. RFU disciplinary procedures pertaining to players and others sent from the field of play will be followed by the ARU. In cases of misconduct, the players should attend a disciplinary hearing held by their Club Disciplinary Committee and in each case the Commanding Officer of the Unit is to be informed prior to the ARU Disciplinary Hearing. Information such as the findings of Club Disciplinary Committees and comment from Unit Commanding Officer’s will form part of the Hearing which should, under normal circumstances, be held within 14 days of the offence being committed.
  18. Insurance. All Clubs affiliated to the ARU automatically join the Mandatory Rugby Injury Insurance Scheme in accordance with the Bye-Laws of the RFU, and in accordance with the specific instructions issued from time to time by the ARU. Clubs that fail to affiliate cannot undertake rugby training nor can they organize, play matches or use Army Sports facilities.
  19. Army Players.
    • a. Selection of Players. A Selection Committee shall be formed, under the Director of Senior Rugby, to select the Army Senior XV and Sevens squads. Each Director/Chairman of the other representative sides (para 2.b) may form a similar committee for their selection process.
    • b. Playing Priorities. Playing priorities are clearly stated in Paragraph 6 of the ‘Combined Services Sport Board Regulations’ and in ‘AGAI Vol 1 Chapter 5 Sport’. In particular, no member of any Army Unit club who has been selected to play with any Army Rugby Union representative squad will be permitted to play for his Unit club or any other team when fixtures clash, or where lack of recovery time is likely to adversely affect performance on the field of play or increase the likelihood of serious injury. This rule holds fast unless the Director of Senior Rugby and, where relevant, his committee, give prior permission to a player and his Unit club. Normally, such consent cannot be withheld where a Unit Club requires a player for an Army Cup tie (not Shield). Due consideration will be given to other national competitions except where the player is chosen to play in an Inter-Service match. The wishes of the player are to be taken into consideration.
  20. 20. Army Representative Colours and Accoutrements.
    • a. XV Cap. The Army Cap is only awarded to players (Senior Men, Women and Masters) representing the Army against the Royal Navy or the Royal Air Force. The presentation of caps is to take place immediately after a player has played his first Inter-Service Championship match, preferably at a formal event. Caps may also be awarded against other representative team, such as the Forces of other Commonwealth Countries upon the approval of the Management Board.
    • b. Senior XV Tie. The Army Senior Players Representative tie may be worn only by players awarded an Army Cap. Other authorized ties are:
      • (1) ARU Council Maroon with white Cypher
      • (2) Academy Navy blue tie with white Cypher
      • (3) ARU Members Navy blue tie with red Cypher
      • (4) Army Sevens Players Senior Representative tie embossed with VII
      • (5) Veterans Blue with gold Cypher embossed with XXXV
      • (6) ARURS Colours As per the Army XV tie but with the word
        referee embossed
    • c. Sevens Cap. Sevens caps are awarded to players playing a minimum of 4 tournaments in the UK during a season and 1 overseas tournament or 10 accumulated tournaments over 3 seasons.
    • d. Other Representative Teams. Players of other full representative teams eg: Academy may be awarded ‘Colours’ not amounting to a ‘Cap’, by the respective Committees. Such ‘Colours’ are to be agreed by the Council and awards announced at the AGM.
    • e. Playing Clothing. The Army shall play in primarily red shirts, white shorts, red and white hose. The emblem shall be the Royal Cypher as described in para 4 above. Other representative teams, may with the endorsement of the Council, wear similar clothing with the ARU emblem appropriately annotated. eg: Academy. The emblem may also be worn on other clothing appropriate to the particular representative squad eg: tracksuits, blazers, smart-casual shirts. Teams are to ensure that the playing clothing worn by squads reflect their current sponsor – client relationship (ie. clothing provided by previous sponsors should not be worn publicly by members of representative squads.
    • f. Other Clothing. The use of the Royal Cypher is a privilege which must not be abused (See para 4). Use of the emblem for other items of clothing non specific to representative squads must have the prior approval of the Council.

  22. All competitions shall be run under the auspices of the Community Rugby Committee (Competitions sub-Committee) of the ARU. The Rules of each Competition, published annually, are binding on all participants; they may be amended from time to time by the Community Rugby Committee. Current rules and regulations can be found on the ARU website. Other competitions and leagues whilst being the responsibility of the Community Rugby Committee, eg the Army Sevens, may be administered by specialist Committees or Project Teams.

  24. The Army Rugby Union Trust is a registered charity (Number 1149105) that was established on 12 February 1930. Its purpose is to promote “the physical efficiency of the Army by affording facilities for all ranks to indulge in sport in general and in rugby union football in particular” and “making grants to charities for the benefit of members, both past and present, of Her Majesty’s Forces or their dependants and those involved in the game of rugby union football”. It meets those purposes, mainly by making grants to individuals and organisations that meet the criteria laid down in its Declaration of Trust. In effect, the ARU Trust is the financial engine of the ARU. Trustees of the ARU Trust are the members of the ARU Management Board.

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