Simon Halliday departed his role as European Professional Club Rugby chairman on Wednesday with a warning that World Rugby is sleepwalking its way towards disaster over brain injuries; after revealing his own children do not play the sport due to safety concerns.
A former England centre, Halliday is one of rugby's longest-serving administrators having served on the Rugby Football Union Council as well as at club level for Harlequins, Bath and Esher.
In a candid interview with Telegraph Sport, he reflects upon the bruising battles to form an eight-year agreement between European leagues and unions with a Club World Cup starting in 2024 as its centrepiece.
However that blueprint for future prosperity is overshadowed by the existential crisis that rugby faces over a concussion lawsuit involving dozens of former players. That has hit close to home for Halliday whose wife has banned his young sons playing rugby while the elite game remains a frightening spectacle.
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World Rugby has commissioned studies examining the effects of fewer replacements and lower tackle heights, but Halliday insists the governing body must act far more decisively.
"Change some laws fast," Halliday said. "Get on with it. Why are you waiting? I am sick and tired of hearing platitudes. Make some decisions. You can commission as many reports as you like, but all I know is that my wife won't let my boys play rugby. She is not a shrinking violet, but she says 'no way am I letting them play. Look at the head shots they take.' Participation levels everywhere are down, down, down. Make decisions and you will bring people back."
World Rugby's recent announcement that it wants to limit contact training to a maximum of 15 minutes being advisory rather than mandatory is an example of Halliday's point. "If they have the evidence why do not just act?" he says. "What are you waiting for?"
As a centre for Bath, Harlequins and England, Halliday missed the advent of professionalism and believes a lot of the solutions to rugby's present problems are to be found in previous era, including fewer replacements and better tackle technique.
"It is soul destroying to see those players suffering that because the game was different back in my day," Halliday said. "The cuts, the wounds and the bruises were inflicted without cameras. There was a lot more blood and you gained a lot more scars from people who wanted to have a go at you. You took more of a kicking but we aren't wondering about what our names are."
Halliday has accumulated just as many scars in his six and a half year tenure as EPCR which he joined soon after the organisation was formed to run European competitions following a rebellion of the English and French clubs.
Corralling a combination of self-interested unions, defensive leagues and megalomaniac club owners is less like herding cats than guiding an ambush of murderous tigers, but Halliday signs off having negotiated an eight-year agreement that provides long-term certainty to clubs and players. The vexed global calendar discussions are now at an end.