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Brett Gosper retains one regret from long stint as World Rugby CEO

By Liam Heagney
(Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)

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Ex-World Rugby CEO Brett Gosper has revealed his one regret from his long stint in charge of the game’s governing body. The Australian was in charge from 2012 through to last year when he decided to change sports and become the NFL head of Europe and the UK.

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Unlike in NFL, where franchises seem to willingly buy into the greater good, politics was rife during Gosper’s time as rugby CEO and that fragmentation has continued since his departure with various countries protecting their self-interests rather than adopting a more inclusive perspective.  

Looking back on his eight years as World Rugby CEO, Gosper told The Telegraph he has one lingering regret. “If I have any regrets, and regret is probably the wrong word, what I would have liked to have seen is the Nations Championship.

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“We proposed it with access to all teams at the top table, making every international game count in a competition with different divisions and including teams like the USA.

“Not doing that was a missed opportunity and it would have had the governing body at the centre of the most valuable part of the game. It wasn’t to be, and that was frustrating at the time.

It remains Gosper’s belief that rugby will only prosper from a more unified approach to finance and revenue sharing. “Put it this way, if there is a growing gap between the haves and the have-nots, then it is not going to be great for the competitive nature of the sport and particularly the Rugby World Cup which drives revenues for the vast majority of countries across the world.

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“Some mechanism that ensures that divide does not increase and the teams remain competitive needs to be found in rugby.

“Rugby suffers a little bit from fragmented interests which can stop it moving forward at times. There are lessons for rugby, and other sports, about how the NFL is aligned for the benefit of all. It is an all for one and one for all organisation.”

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