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Beaumont re-elected World Rugby chief, calls for unity to tackle Covid-19 crisis

Bill Beaumont pictured with the Web Ellis trophy at a news conference in 2017.
Bill Beaumont pictured with the Web Ellis trophy at a news conference in 2017. © Toru Yamanaka, AFP

Bill Beaumont was re-elected as World Rugby chairman after beating Argentine Agustin Pichot in the first round of voting and has called for unity amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the sport's governing body said on Saturday.

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The Englishman prevailed by a 28-23 margin to secure a second consecutive four-year term.

Frenchman Bernard Laporte, who was running unopposed, was elected vice-chairman.

"Now is not the time for celebration. We have work to do," Beaumont said in a statement.

"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."

Rugby, like most sports, has been on hold as the novel coronavirus spread across the world, casting doubt on whether the 2020 international calendar could be completed.

"I am determined to ensure that the spirit of unity and solidarity that has characterised our work in response to an unprecedented global Covid-19 pandemic is the cornerstone of a new approach that will deliver a stronger, more sustainable game when we emerge with new enthusiasm, a renewed purpose and an exciting future," Beaumont added.

Former England and British & Irish Lions lock Beaumont, 68, succeeded France's Bernard Lapasset in 2016. 

(REUTERS)

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