European Professional Club Rugby, the organiser of the continent’s top rugby union clubs competitions, has named has appointed Dominic McKay as its interim chairman and a non-executive director.
McKay starts the position with immediate effect, taking over from Simon Halliday, who left the post earlier this month after completing two three-year terms.
McKay brings significant experience in rugby administration with him, having spent over eight years as the chairman and non executive director of the Pro14 Championship, the Europe-based rugby union clubs competition that has since rebranded as the United Rugby Championship, until April this year.
At the same time as McKay left the Pro14, he stepped down from a 13-year stint at Scottish Rugby, the national body for the sport, where he rose to chief operating officer and was also a board director. He has also previously sat on the board of Rugby Europe, the continental governing body.
Outside of rugby, McKay was appointed chief executive the top Scottish soccer club Celtic this year but stepped down after only two months in the role last month due to personal reasons.
Halliday expressed a mix of sadness for leaving the organisation and excitement for its future when he left, saying: “EPCR has signed a new eight-year agreement which I believe is a triumph of negotiation and shared objectives between the leagues and unions of Europe. This will guarantee the long-term future of both the Heineken Champions Cup and the EPCR Challenge Cup. At the same time, this will create clarity for the international and club calendar…
“From this new agreement, we are now working on the participation of the South African provinces and building towards a Club World Cup every four years which would replace the latter stages of the Heineken Champions Cup. Together with our improved formats, reduced pool matches and more knockout rugby, EPCR is in a great position to grow."
McKay’s appointment comes at a time of change for EPCR, with the organisation’s chief executive of six years Vincent Gaillard having stepped down in July – he went on to be appointed executive director of the World Rowing international governing body earlier this month.
Mark McCafferty, chief executive of England's Premiership Rugby and a member of the EPCR board, said: “Following the new EPCR agreement concluded in April, we are now entering an exciting era for Heineken Champions Cup and EPCR Challenge Cup rugby beginning with December’s opening rounds of matches.
“There are many initiatives underway to build on the success of the tournaments and on the passion of the clubs, players, fans and partners participating in them. So, we are delighted at this time to have someone of Dominic’s calibre and experience joining us, and I am sure we shall benefit from his strategic and leadership skills.”
McKay, added: "I am delighted and humbled to be asked to chair the EPCR Board and I very much look forward to working with all our stakeholders across Europe as well as with the board and executive team in Lausanne to further develop the Heineken Champions Cup and Challenge Cup in the months ahead."