Bill Beaumont looks odds on to become the next chairman of World Rugby after the governing body confirmed that he will run unopposed for the role.
The 63-year-old, the chairman of England’s Rugby Football Union (RFU), had announced his intention to stand earlier this month.
He is seeking to replace Frenchman Bernard Lapasset, who is standing down to focus on his role as co-chairman of the Paris bid to host the 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
Beaumont must now achieve a simple majority of votes cast when the election is held in Dublin on May 11.
A deadline for candidates to put themselves forward expired on Saturday (March 12).
The only people eligible to put themselves forward were members of the World Rugby Council, a body made up of 27 men.
Each member of the Council has one vote in the election.
Beaumont, capped 34 times by England during his international career, was defeated by Lapasset 14-12 in the last election, held in Los Angeles in December 2011.
He then lost his position as vice-chairman to Oregan Hoskins when, following two ballots which ended 13-13, the Frenchman cast his deciding vote for the South African.
It has also been confirmed that Hoskins will not stand again for his role, with Argentina’s 41-year-old former player Agustín Pichot the only candidate to replace him.
Beaumont was nominated by the RFU, proposed by Pichot and seconded by Steve Tew of New Zealand.
Pichot was proposed by Beaumont and seconded by Australia’s Michael Hawker after being nominated by the Union Argentina de Rugby.
It was thought that Romanian International Olympic Committee member Octavian Morariu might challenge Beaumont, but he exclusively revealed to insidethegames that he wished to focus on his current role as President of Rugby Europe.
The Englishman has already released a 20-page manifesto for the top job and has hired British communications firm Jon Tibbs Associates (JTA) to advise him.
“Rapid recent expansion has brought tremendous excitement and expectation, which is a credit to our current chairman Bernard Lapasset,” he said when announcing his intention to run.
“Rugby must have strong roots to ensure healthy and sustainable growth globally.
“After the largest and most successful Rugby World Cup ever, and with sevens now on the Olympic programme, we are entering a pivotal period.
“Rugby now needs a modern, forward-thinking, world-leading International Federation that strengthens the roots of the game’s success – our financial security and fundamental rugby values – to guarantee that growth well into the future.
”I believe that with my knowledge and experience I can work with World Rugby to achieve this.”
Lapasset was elected to succeed Ireland’s Syd Millar as head of the International Rugby Board in October 2007 and assumed the President’s role in January 2008.
Rebranding to World Rugby in 2014 was one of several innovations overseen during his term, and he also led the successful campaign for sevens to be added to the Olympic programme in RIo de Janeiro this year.
- By Dan Palmer
- Republished with permission insidethegames.biz