Sir Bill Beaumont has stressed that World Rugby is committed to the future of women’s rugby, and hopes to deliver on his manifesto promises.
Beaumont was re-elected as World Rugby Chairman last week, beating out his deputy Augustin Pichot by 28 votes to 23 in an election which has divided the Rugby world. The former England captain has vowed to deliver meaningful change, which will include the tough task of guiding Rugby through the coronavirus pandemic and expanding the reach of women’s rugby.
Whilst both Pichot and Beaumont sighted the women’s game as part of their manifestos, it was Beaumont’s ideas which eventually won the voters over, vowing to reach newfound territories, overhaul the current calendar and create equal opportunities for all parties.
Speaking to BBC Sport, Beaumont said “We have already got a few ideas in the pipeline, looking at a global women’s competition with promotion and relegation.”
Another area of potential expansion is the Sevens game, which Beaumont thinks could help access new territories. Describing the Sevens circuit as an “incredible tool” he stressed that “Teams like Kenya have won tournaments, and the Olympics in Rio was a massive game-changer; it brought rugby to the forefront.”
Like the majority of other major sports at the moment, there remains widespread speculation about the future of the women’s game in the face of significant financial problems that have arisen because of the coronavirus. Beaumont however, maintains that women’s rugby will not suffer as a result.
“I’m challenging the World Rugby Executive, and saying we have to find the money for these competitions,” he exemplified.
“Women’s rugby is part of our long-term plan and we have made a commitment.”
Question marks were raised over the pace at which Beaumont implemented change during his first term as chairman, and the process of getting Rugby back on its feet again will no doubt be a slow process. He now has until 2024 to make as much significant change as possible. By this time, Women’s Rugby could be bigger and better than ever before, but it could also cease to exist at all…
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