Women’s Sport: Female council members will be decisive in World Rugby’s leadership race

Media conference to introduce new World Rugby Chairman and Vice-Chairman

Prior to 2017, no women sat on Rugby’s global governing body table. Now, they make up almost one-third of the vote as World Rugby became the first sport to integrate women on such a wide scale. 

Sir Bill Beaumont is credited with supporting this change, and will be keen to land the votes of those women whom he championed to have a say, as he bids to stay on as World Rugby Chairman. Last May, Beaumont was at the heart of #TryAndStopUs campaign, and was also influential in the renaming of the Women’s Rugby World Cup to simply the Rugby World Cup.

Of the 49 members eligible to vote, 17 are women, which would suggest the odds are heavily in Beaumont’s favour. Yet, his competition- Agustin Pichot, has placed focus himself on evolving the women’s game.

Speaking to The Telegraph, Pichot said World Rugby should be “more aggressive” in going after funding and take inspiration from the way women’s football has increased sponsorship. He is also heavily in favour of increasing funding for emerging women’s rugby nations, and hopes to create a Nations Championship type competition in the near future.

In this way therefore, it is unclear the direction in which female voters will go. European based voters appear to be leaning towards the re-election of Beaumont, whilst those from the Southern-Hemisphere favour Pichot.

In a last minute bid to swing voters, Pichot has challenged Beaumont to a live manifesto debate. Voting opens on the 27th April 2020 and will be open for four-days.

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