Pacific Rugby Players Welfare chief executive Dan Leo has expressed concern over World Rugby’s governance review. Recently re-elected World Rugby chairman Bill Beaumont announced the independent-led review on Wednesday, which had been promised by him in his election campaign. 


The core objective is to analyse the effectiveness of the current governance model, focusing on these areas: Gender balance and diversity on World Rugby boards and committees; Player representation within World Rugby’s governance structures; Committee structure and reporting flows for effectiveness; Suitability, definition and naming of emerging nations/established nations groups; The format and frequency of council meetings to best serve the global game; The criteria for appointment of council members and the fit and proper person test for elected members.”

Former Samoa international Leo has been demanding answers from World Rugby ever since Fiji Rugby Union chairman Francis Kean stood down from the World Rugby council in April after allegations of homophobia and discrimination. 

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Responding to the announcement of the review, Leo said on Twitter that there was “no mention of criteria for who heads governing bodies”. 

While the Kean fiasco has forced World Rugby to investigate “the criteria for appointment of council members”, Leo has consistently questioned how union officials are chosen ever since Beaumont’s appointment and has underlined the urgency in which this needs to be addressed.

Kean, who was convicted of manslaughter in 2007, has remained chairman of the FRU, while his brother-in-law and Fijian Prime Minister, Frank Bainimarama, is the president of the FRU. Leo has lobbied World Rugby to look into this and feels this review is not enough. 


Furthermore, Leo has questioned the entire process of the review, saying: “And correct me if I’m wrong but the way I read it, the working group are pretty much all the World Rugby council people so they’re investigating themselves?”

While the review will be chaired by British Olympic Committee chairman and former UK Sports Minister, Hugh Robertson, alongside “independent experts, players and representatives from emerging and established rugby nations”, the working group will also contain Beaumont, his vice-chairman Bernard Laporte and chief executive Brett Gosper. 

Some have said that this limits the effectiveness of the review, and Leo has likened it to self-marking homework at school. 

The review findings will be presented to the World Rugby council later this year and although there may be limitations to this review in the 37-year-old’s eyes, there is little chance that he will concede defeat.


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