Sydney - Rugby Australia named former Wallaby Paul McLean as temporary chairperson on Monday, edging out his predecessor Cameron Clyde early amid tense talks on a new broadcast rights deal.
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Clyne announced in November he would be stepping down but had intended to stay on until the end of next month, when the governing body holds its annual general meeting and is expected to choose a new chairperson.
But Rugby Australia (RA) said Clyne had agreed to step down as chairperson immediately, with board director McLean taking over on a short-term basis before a permanent replacement was found.
"Ultimately, there are some major pieces of work that are either nearing completion or getting underway, including the negotiations around the media rights," McLean said.
McLean played 31 Tests for Australia from 1974-82.
Critics had questioned why Clyne was set to play a central role in broadcast negotiations when he would not be with the organisation when any deal took effect.
RA this month called for bids from broadcasters for rights from 2021-25 after talks broke down with Foxtel, its partner of 25 years.
Reports say telecoms giant Optus is a likely bidder, with a Foxtel reconciliation also possible.