Defeated World Rugby chairman candidate Agustin Pichot has claimed he was betrayed by Rugby Africa president Khaled Babbou in a move that cost him top spot in the game’s governing body.
The former Argentina captain lost to incumbent chairman Sir Bill Beaumont last month in a tightly-contested 28-23 vote count.
Speaking on Argentine television, Pichot lambasted Babbou for switching allegiances at the eleventh hour as he hinted at shady dealings being the motive behind the late crossover.
“That betrayal occurred in the last days,” the 45-year-old told TNT Sports.
“You are going to know why I was betrayed, favours are being made on the edge of ethics. On our side you will not find any type of negotiation. It was done that way and for that reason we lost. I would not have done it in any other way.
“We were 23-23 with 24 hours to go. Africa did what it did and we lost.”
It is widely speculated that Rugby Africa wasn’t the only organisation to have thrown their lot in with Beaumont despite initially backing Pichot, as Samoa allegedly also switched their vote, according to a report from the Daily Telegraph.
Pichot, who served under Beaumont as World Rugby vice-chairman over the past four years, has since resigned from his position on the World Rugby Council.
The former 71-test star was considered a far more progressive candidate for the chairman role as he advocated for the enhancement of developing rugby nations and inception of a “global game”.
“The only reason I have been a part of World Rugby to this day, and which in turn is the same one that has moved me to run for president, is the conviction that World Rugby needs change,” he said at the time of his resignation earlier this month.
“But my proposal, which I fervently believe in, has not been chosen, and that is why I choose to step aside.
“I cannot conceive of occupying a place just for the sake of occupying it.”
Pichot was succeeded as World Rugby vice-chairman by Beaumont’s running mate and ex-France head coach Bernard Laporte.
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