According to media reports in England, Pacific Rugby activists have called for a review of Bill Beaumont’s reelection as president of World Rugby, after alleging that his government is “manifestly lacking.”
Pacific Rugby Players Welfare (PRPW) submitted a 59-page stinging dossier on Wednesday to the world governing body for sport.
The Veilomani Report, named after Fiji’s term for love between people, claims that World Rugby is violating its own statutes and the regulations of the International Olympic Committee (IOC).
World Rugby said Beaumont’s reelection was “quite contested,” and global bosses were understood to be pushing hard for a change in Fiji.
Fiji Rugby Union (RFU) President Francis Kean had supported Beaumont’s reelection for the presidency, but was removed from the World Rugby Council after it was discovered that he had previously been convicted of manslaughter.
Beaumont announced plans for a “far-reaching governance review” in January, which is now led by Sir Hugh Robertson, but PRPW Chief Executive Dan Leo has challenged World Rugby by uncovering the pot in that process.
“We believe this year’s World Rugby elections should be completely revised,” Leo told the AP news agency.
“Serious questions remain about how Francis Kean, a man convicted of involuntary manslaughter, might have been accepted at the World Rugby Council. France had supported Kean’s nomination for the World Rugby executive committee, although his candidacy was later withdrawn. Fiji supported Bernard Laporte’s successful bid for the vice presidency of World Rugby, with the head of the French union and together with Beaumont , leaving aside the challenge of Agustin Pichot. We believe the entire process deserves a thorough review. “
Rugby Sevens’ place in the Olympic movement could be threatened if World Rugby is found to be in violation of the IOC code.
“World Rugby does not meet the necessary high standards of good governance, is in breach of its commitments as a member of the Olympic movement and continues to act in violation of its own statutes,” the PPR report alleges. Compared to other major international sports federations, the World Rugby government is notoriously poor. “
Former Samoa Leo revealed that PRPW wrote to World Rugby three times in the same months, offering evidence gathered by the organization about alleged Kean irregularities in Fiji.
Leo said that PRPW has taken this bold step of sending its extensive dossier of recommendations for change directly to Robertson, the current president of the British Olympic Association (BOA) and a former UK sports minister.
The Veilomani Report outlines 32 recommendations, including a series of measures to eradicate misconduct in the Pacific Islands.
“One of the reasons we are so frustrated is that we have written three letters to World Rugby and received no response,” said Leo. “We have testimonies of witnesses that we hope to transmit, but we still do not have the opportunity. People have come to us and entrusted us with that, but we have not been able to pass it on. “
“The only way things will change is if independent organizations that have no conflict of interest in funding are allowed to come to the table and present these presentations, and in fact take them seriously, and not just ignore them. Since we have operated out of your funds, we have been totally frozen and abandoned. We cannot send these reports and letters without making them public, because if we do, they will not be recognized. It is really important to the Pacific Islands, but also for each Tier 2 nation, have these issues taken seriously, addressed, and rectified. “
“Obviously, rugby operates in a capitalist world, but it also has to operate with a conscience. That’s not too much to ask, particularly in a sport that prides itself on values like teamwork, respect and integrity. We believe this report shows that these values are not universal in sports. “
World Rugby has insisted that investigations continue into the Kean affair, while supporting the process by which Beaumont was re-elected as President.
“The election of the World Rugby president was highly disputed by two excellent leadership candidates with clear visions for the sport,” a World Rugby spokesperson told the PA news agency.
It is understood that World Rugby has been pushing hard for change to occur in the Fiji Rugby Union, while investigations into allegations of misconduct have been carried out.
Kean was convicted of involuntary manslaughter and sentenced to 18 months in prison in December 2006. The brother-in-law of Fiji’s Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama, Kean is also subject to a series of allegations of human rights abuse.