Welsh Regional Rugby Chief Stuart Gallacher announces retirement from game
One of Europe and Welsh Rugby's leading figures, Stuart Gallacher has confirmed that he will retire from the game this summer.
The Chief Executive of Regional Rugby Wales (RRW) and former Director of ERC and the Celtic League, former Chief Executive of the Scarlets and dual-code international player has made a major contribution to Welsh Rugby during a career that has spanned more than 40 years.
Recognised and respected as one of the game's most influential figures during a huge period of change in professional rugby, Stuart Gallacher career included heading Llanelli RFC and the Scarlets for 13 years, overseeing the transition to professionalism, the shift to regional rugby across Wales and the move from Stradey Park. His tenure at the helm of the Scarlets included three Heineken Cup semi-finals for the Scarlets, a Celtic league title and an EDF Energy Cup final appearance.
His knowledge, extensive experience and connections on the world rugby stage have come from a career that has included commitments as chairman of Llanelli RFC, CEO of Llanelli RFC, a board member of ERC and Chairman of the ERC Rugby sub-committee for five years, a board member of Celtic Rugby, committee member of LV=Cup and WRU board member as well as leading the Regions as CEO of Regional Rugby Wales for five years from 2009.
Mr Gallacher, 68, expressed his thanks all those that he has worked with during his long career in Welsh and European Rugby and said he was now looking forward to spending more quality time with his family.
He said: "It was never going to be an easy for me to finally step away from being involved in the game particularly after the challenges of the past few years - it's been my life. But it's time now to take for a very capable and united group in the Welsh Regions to take things forward and I am pleased that we can look forward positively to a new and improved European competition.
"I'd hope that for the sake of everyone in Welsh Rugby that a positive and progressive new agreement will soon be reached with the WRU. The Regions have passionate, dedicated and knowledgeable rugby people supporting and working for them and our Welsh Regions continue to play a vital role in the future success of Welsh Rugby. Their place in our game should be respected and celebrated within a partnership that works and takes our whole game forward in Wales."
"I have so many people to thank for their support over the years and I have had the pleasure of working with some great rugby colleagues whose values epitomize what is unique about rugby and have a real understanding and passion for our game and I am grateful to have had the opportunities to contribute alongside them."
Cardiff Blues Chairman, Peter Thomas said: "He has been a rock in Welsh Rugby - a driving force for our interests and a trusted and respected friend and colleague for many years. I have great personal admiration for Stuart, he is held in very high regard throughout the game and has worked tirelessly over many years on the Welsh, Celtic and European rugby stages and it is right that we all fully applaud and celebrate his huge contribution and wish him a very happy retirement."
Stuart Gallacher steps down with immediate effect. Scarlets CEO Mark Davies will continue in his role as Acting Chief Executive of Regional Rugby Wales in the interim before an announcement is made in due course about Mr Gallacher's successor.
Existing Season Ticket holders are advised that full details of all packages for the 2015/16 season have now been posted out to you and will arrive in the coming days - and that the deadline to renew your seat has now been extended!
Supporters are advised that Cardiff Blues will be holding a presentation on the field post match on Saturday afternoon to mark those players leaving the region, hand out caps and the end of season awards.
First team stars Cory Allen, Ellis Jenkins, Adam Jones and Kristian Dacey were among the special guests as Cardiff Blues held the Sphere Solutions Blues Tag Rugby Festival at BT Sport Cardiff Arms Park.
The players at Cardiff Blues will be hoping to play with some true Gallic flair for the rest of the Guinness PRO12 season - after the region teamed up with a successful French bistrot in the Welsh capital.
Cardiff Blues will be celebrating St David's Day when the region faces Edinburgh Rugby at BT Sport Cardiff Arms Park on Sunday afternoon (kick-off 12.45pm) - with hundreds of children invited as part of our Regional Schools Day.