World Rugby launches governance review


London (AFP)

World Rugby has launched a governance review led by former British sports minister Hugh Robertson, the organisation said Wednesday.

A review was a central plank of the successful re-election campaign of Bill Beaumont that saw the ex-England captain win a new four-year term as World Rugby chairman in May after he defeated Argentina's Agustin Pichot.

But it remains to be seen whether the review will alter a system where major 'tier one' rugby nations such as Europe's Six Nations and the four Rugby Championship countries have three votes each, while others make do with two or one.

In addition to Robertson, the other two independent members of the working group are Peter Cosgrove, a former Governor General of Australia and Angela Ruggiero, an American former ice hockey player and Olympic gold medallist, who previously served on the International Olympic Committee.

But the working group also includes several senior rugby administrators including Beaumont himself and his deputy Bernard Laporte, the former France coach.

"In our manifesto, Bernard Laporte and I made a promise to undertake a governance review to ensure World Rugby is agile in its thinking and decision-making and our structures further reflect the diversity and values of our game," said Beaumont in a World Rugby statement.

Thanking Robertson and the fellow independent panellists, Beaumont added: "As our game continues to grow and we welcome new playing nations, it is imperative our structures and leadership reflect our ambitions and the universality of the game."

Meanwhile Robertson, also the chairman of the British Olympic Association, said: "Rugby is a thriving global sport, with a spirit of inclusivity, unity and diversity, and I am committed to ensuring that this is reflected in the review process and any recommendations made by the Working Group."

The review takes place against a backdrop of talks on how to organise the international calendar following the coronavirus, with a vote expected on June 30 after discussions on Monday broke up without an agreement.

Wednesday's statement said it was "anticipated" the review findings will be presented to World Rugby's ruling council later this year.