World Rugby have finally launched the independent-led governance review promised in recent election manifestos by re-elected chairman Bill Beaumont and new vice-president Bernard Laporte. How the governing body of rugby around the world conducts its business has come in for sharp criticism recently.


This was particularly evident after controversial Fijian Francis Kean was initially nominated to contest the World Rugby executive council election before he stepped back from the contest. 

There were also concerns about the politics of the election race won by Beaumont against his previous vice-president, Agustin Pichot, who cried foul in the aftermath of the chairman election and has since quit all involvement in World Rugby. 

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Beaumont said: “In our manifesto, Bernard Laporte and I made a promise to undertake a governance review to ensure World Rugby is agile in its thinking and decision-making and our structures further reflect the diversity and values of our game.

“This is more important now than ever, and I would like to thank Hugh Robertson for agreeing to lead this process as well as the experienced, independent experts who will be part of this working group. As our game continues to grow and we welcome new playing nations, it is imperative our structures and leadership reflect our ambitions and the universality of the game.”

The working group consists of: independent members (Hugh Robertson, Peter Cosgrove and Angela Ruggiero), northern unions (Laporte – FFR president and Martyn Phillips – WRU CEO), southern unions (Mark Alexander – SARU president and Marcelo Rodriguez – UAR president), regions (Cristina Flores – Rugby Americas North and Cathy Wong – Oceania Rugby), emerging nations (Alin Petrache – FRR president), player representatives (Omar Hassanein – IRP CEO and Safi N’Diaye – France international) and World Rugby (Beaumont – chairman and Brett Gosper – chief executive).


Robertson is current British Olympic committee chairman and former UK Olympics Minister. According to World Rugby, key focus areas of the review will include:

  • 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.

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