World Rugby election: Sir Bill Beaumont beats Agustin Pichot and is re-elected chairman – BBC Sport

Beaumont was first elected chairman of World Rugby in 2016

Former England captain Sir Bill Beaumont has been re-elected as the chairman of World Rugby for another four years.

The 68-year-old defeated his former deputy, ex-Argentina skipper Agustin Pichot, by 28 votes to 23.

French Rugby president Bernard Laporte has been elected vice-chairman.

“I am honoured to accept the mandate of the World Rugby Council to serve as the international federation’s chairman once again,” said Beaumont.

“I would like to thank my union and region colleagues, members of the global rugby family and, of course, my family for their full support.

“I would like to thank Gus for his friendship and support over the last four years. While we stood against each other in this campaign, we aligned in many ways, and I have the utmost respect for him. Gus is passionate about the sport and his contribution has been significant.”

Beaumont was first elected president in July 2016, succeeding Bernard Lapasset.

His re-election will be confirmed at World Rugby’s annual Council meeting on 12 May, after which his new term in charge will begin.

He added: “Over the last four years we have achieved a lot, but we are at half-time and need to press on in the second half. I now have a clear mandate to work with Bernard [Laporte] to implement progressive, sustainable change.

“As an organisation, we must lead, be transparent, accountable and continue to serve for all. We must be united in our drive to make this great sport even better, simpler, safer and more accessible.

“Now is not the time for celebration. We are tackling Covid-19 and must implement an appropriate return-to-rugby strategy that prioritises player welfare, while optimising any opportunity to return to international rugby this year in full collaboration with club competitions for the good of players, fans and the overall financial health of the sport.

“I am determined to ensure that the spirit of unity and solidarity that has characterised our work in response to an unprecedented global Covid-19 pandemic, is the cornerstone of a new approach that will deliver a stronger, more sustainable game.”

Bill Sweeney, chief executive of the RFU, congratulated Beaumont on his re-election.

“Bill is ideally placed to lead and unite rugby unions in strengthening the game so we can address the immediate and longer term challenges,” he said.

Analysis

Chris Jones, BBC Sport rugby union correspondent

Beaumont was always the favourite for re-election, and although Pichot ran a dynamic and passionate campaign, the former England captain won in the end with a little bit to spare.

But the hard work starts now for Beaumont, who has a lot on his plate in the short, medium, and long term. Guiding the sport through the turbulence of the current situation is the immediate priority, but throughout that process he has to convince stakeholders worldwide – unions and clubs on both sides of the equator – to support his vision for the game; without that backing and collaboration, he will achieve little.

His manifesto pledges a global sport open to all. He now has the mandate to try and lead rugby union into a new era between now and 2024.

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