World Rugby chief executive Brett Gosper is to step down in January when he will take up a new role as head of the NFL in Europe and the UK.

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Gosper’s nine-year spell as CEO of the sport’s global governing body has seen sevens reintroduced into the Olympics and the delivery of the first World Cup staged in Asia – Japan 2019.

Chief operating officer Alan Gilpin will perform the role of interim CEO until Gosper’s replacement is appointed.

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Eddie Jones looks ahead to England’s Nations Cup final appearance

“It’s been a fantastic nine years. It has been an absolute privilege to have worked with so many talented and dedicated rugby people around the world,” said Gosper, who made an appearance in the recently launched Oceans Apart documentary investigating the plight of the Pacific Islands nations.

“Rugby is a wonderful sport and World Rugby is a fantastic organisation, and therefore it was a very difficult decision to leave.

“But with a new ambitious strategic plan set to launch and the strong foundations in place to drive the sport forward beyond the pandemic, the time is right for me to begin a new challenge.

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“I am proud of what we have achieved together as a rugby family. While I will miss working in the sport, my passion and enthusiasm for what rugby and its values mean to so many will never diminish.”

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