World Rugby Chairman Sir Bill Beaumont has been re-elected to the role on the back of a 'progressive reform' manifesto, and will continue to serve in the position for the next four years.
The former England rugby captain won a simple majority of 28-23 against his opponent, and former Vice-Chairman, Agustin Pichot. Meanwhile, French Rugby Federation (FFR) President Bernard Laporte was elected as new World Rugby Vice-Chairman.
While the result will officially be confirmed at the annual meeting of the organisation’s Council on 12th May, both candidates agreed to an early announcement after the voting process ended at first round stage with no further votes required.
“I am honoured to accept the mandate of the World Rugby Council to serve as the international federation’s Chairman once again,” said Beaumont. “And would like to thank my union and region colleagues, members of the global rugby family and, of course, my family for their full support.
“I would like to thank Gus [Pichot] for his friendship and support over the last four years. While we stood against each other in this campaign, we aligned in many ways, and I have the utmost respect for him. Gus is passionate about the sport and his contribution has been significant.”
Beaumont, along with his new Vice-Chairman Laporte, says the pair will deliver a mandate of ‘progressive reform'.
According to World Rugby, this will include enhanced governance reform, an aligned and integrated approach to the global calendar, accelerated prioritisation of player welfare, injury-prevention and modified contact variants, the accelerated promotion of the women’s game, and sustainable investment in the sport. It is understood this will include a return of the Nations Championship proposal previously tabled.
Laporte added: “Congratulations to my friend Sir Bill Beaumont on his re-election. I would also like to express my best wishes to Agustin Pichot, a legend of Argentinian rugby and a great rugby leader. I also want to thank all unions who have expressed their opinion in this important ballot, giving a clear mandate for the governance which Bill and I will undertake on their behalf.
“During this unprecedented and global COVID-19 crisis, we must act and unite unions from the north and south and the professional leagues around a common objective to define a strong and sustainable future for all. We will pursue these reforms together and act in solidarity with the rugby family, to drive the game forward on and off the field, further the welfare of our players and make the sport more attractive and accessible.”
A new Executive Committee was also confirmed with seven new members elected to join the Chairman, Vice-Chairman, Chief Executive, Brett Gosper, as well as two independents Angela Ruggiero and Lord Mervyn Davies.