Sir Bill Beaumont has been re-elected as World Rugby chairman for a second four year term after achieving a narrow majority of 28-23 against Agustín Pichot. Moreover, French Rugby Federation (FFR) president Bernard Laporte has been elected as its new vice-chairman.
Beaumont’s re-election comes with a promise of changes to the rugby union world governing body, with the former England captain insisting that World Rugby needs to embrace technologies such as HawkEye and direct-to-consumer streaming services.
However, initially he will be tasked with restricting the Rugby Union calendar in order to combat the COVID-19 crisis.
On his re-election, Beaumont said: “As an organisation, we must lead, be transparent, accountable and continue to serve for all. We must be united in our drive to make this great sport even better, simpler, safer and more accessible. We must listen to players, fans, competitions, our unions and regions, and take decisions that are in the best interests of all with our strong values to the fore.
“Now is not the time for celebration. We have work to do. We are tackling COVID-19 and must implement an appropriate return-to-rugby strategy that prioritises player welfare, while optimising any opportunity to return to international rugby this year in full collaboration with club competitions for the good of players, fans and the overall financial health of the sport.”
According to World Rugby both Beaumont and Laporte will combine efforts in order to prioritise player welfare and injury prevention, accelerated promotion of its women’s game, and driving investment into the sport.
Laporte added: “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.”
The results of the re-election will officially be confirmed at World Rugby’s may 12 council meeting. However, both candidates agreed to announce the results earlier given that both processes ended at the first round stage.