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4 December 2017

The IWRF - A Governance Overview

IWRF Governance


There are three levels of governance in IWRF. At the top is the IWRF General Assembly (GA). This is made up of all the member countries of IWRF. The GA meets every two years to set the overall direction of IWRF. It approves the top-level rules and regulations governing IWRF, reviews and decides on motions, and elects the Board of Directors. Every IWRF member who is active in international competitions and who has paid the membership fee has the right to participate in and vote at the GA.


The IWRF Board is responsible to oversee the IWRF between meetings of the GA. They implement the direction received from the members at the GA and oversee the completion of the strategic plan. The Board approves the annual budget and plans of IWRF, appoints committees, approves sanction for IWRF events, and approves contracts and agreements with suppliers and other organizations. Board members also work on IWRF standing committees, attend events and meetings to represent IWRF, and work on other projects in support of the IWRF's goals.


The day-to-day operations of IWRF are managed by the Chief Executive Officer (CEO), a full-time employee of IWRF. The CEO is supported by a volunteer staff who fill positions on the IWRF standing committees. All the daily work and correspondence of IWRF is handled through the CEO's office. Routine correspondence and questions and issues related to membership, finance, and relations with other organizations are normally handled by the CEO. The committees complete tasks in their specific areas of responsibility, with the support and supervision of the CEO.


Committee Responsibilities


Classification Committee

Development of rules and regulations governing classification

Training and certifying classifiers

Appointing classifiers to work at IWRF events

Responding to questions and issues about Wheelchair Rugby classification

Propose and conduct research on Wheelchair Rugby classification

Advise the CEO and Board on classification matters


Competitions Committee

Development of rules and regulations governing IWRF competitions

Operate the bid and selection process for hosting IWRF championship events

Oversee the sanctioning of IWRF competitions

Manage the IWRF world ranking system

Training and supervising Technical Delegates

Appointing Technical Delegates to work at IWRF events

Responding to questions and issues about IWRF competitions

Advise the CEO and Board on competition matters


Development Committee

Development of policies governing the global development of Wheelchair Rugby

Support new countries in establishing Wheelchair Rugby programs

Support existing countries to improve and expand their programs

Conduct development clinics to train new countries and personnel in Wheelchair Rugby

Apply for grants to support development activities

Assist the CEO in member relations including membership surveys

Advise the CEO and Board on development matters


Technical Committee

Development of the International Rules of Wheelchair Rugby

Develop rules governing Wheelchair Rugby sport equipment

Training and certifying referees, commissioners, and evaluators

Appointing referees, commissioners, and evaluators to work at IWRF events

Responding to questions and issues about Wheelchair Rugby Rules and officiating

Advise the CEO and Board on matters related to the Rules and officiating


In addition to these committees, the IWRF is in the process of establishing a Medical and Scientific Committee. This committee will oversee sport science research, medical issues, and anti-doping activities.


IWRF has also established Working Groups to handle specific projects or areas of interest that fall across or outside of the Standing Committee responsibilities. One such group is the Variations Working Group. This has been established to make plans and recommendations on how IWRF can establish governance over one or more variants of the sport of Wheelchair Rugby. The Working Group includes representatives from the Board, classification, officials, international coaches, and athletes. Variants being reviewed by the Working Group include Invictus Wheelchair Rugby, Wheelchair Rugby Sevens, Open Class Wheelchair Rugby, and Low Point Wheelchair Rugby.


Each IWRF committee includes an athlete representative and a member selected from each of the three IWRF Zones, as well as other positions which bring in specific expertise that each committee requires. Committee members are appointed by the IWRF Board in consultation with the committee chairs.




IWRF is divided into three geographic zones: the Americas, Europe, and Asia-Oceania. These Zones are used to organize the competitions of IWRF regionally. In previous years, each Zone had an elected President and Zone Committee which governed some activities within each Zone. As the operations of IWRF have shifted following independence from IWAS in 2010, with the Board and committees taking on more responsibilities, the role of the Zones has changed. There are still Zone representatives on IWRF committees, but these are now appointed based on their expertise and the needs of the committee rather than being elected. The Zones still play an important role in the IWRF structure, bringing together countries locally, and in 2018 the IWRF Board will be working with the Zone Presidents to develop policies to better govern the Zone structure and to more clearly define the responsibilities of the Zones and Zone Presidents.


Getting Things Done


Any IWRF member with a question, problem, or issue can contact the CEO. He will then pass the query along to the appropriate committee chair, or respond directly if it is not a committee responsibility. Significant issues or those requiring more study may be brought to the Board for consideration. Members are also encouraged to contact committee chairs directly for information or issues in a committee area of responsibility. Member can also go through the Zone representatives on each committee for assistance with local issues.


You can reach the IWRF through our Contact Us page.