World Rugby advised to implement fit and proper person's test

Paris (AFP) –

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Former British sports minister Hugh Robertson has recommended World Rugby introduce a fit and proper person's test for elected officials after accusations of backroom deals in the vote for a new chairman, the rugby union's world governing body said on Thursday.

In July, lobby group Pacific Rugby Player Welfare (PRPW) called for an independent review of the May election, when incumbent chairman Bill Beaumont defeated pro-reform candidate Agustin Pichot.

PRPW cited media reports claiming the French Rugby Federation (FFR), which backed Beaumont, offered Fiji preferential treatment in return for its vote.

The organisation questioned how Fiji Rugby Union chairman Francis Kean, who was convicted of manslaughter in 2007, was appointed to the World Rugby Council.

"We are undertaking this important and necessary process with the ambition of implementing and living the best-possible standards of good governance, furthering the effectiveness and diversity of our structures, ensuring they reflect the values and universality of the game," Beaumont said of Robertson's review in a World Rugby statement.

"We are heading in a very encouraging direction – that enables us to best achieve our purpose of growing the sport worldwide by making it more relevant and accessible.

"All of the governance practices, processes and procedures we implement must be implemented meaningfully with that purpose in mind," he added.

Robertson's review, which was launched in June and was former British and Irish Lions captain Beaumont's idea, also advises the establishment of an ethics and conduct charter for elected officials, a target of at least 40 percent of women on committees and player representation throughout all the committee structures.

An update on the findings will be made to the World Rugby Council in May.

New Zealand will host the 2021 women's Rugby World Cup before France host the men's competition two years later.