Select Edition

Northern Northern
Southern Southern
World World



Saracens back on their perch to continue the dynasty

Despite spirited resistance from Sale Sharks, few members of the Twickenham crowd doubted Mark McCall's men would wrestle back their Premiership crown

RugbyPass+ Home

World Rugby statement: The death of ex-chairman Bernard Lapasset

By Liam Heagney
(Photo by Richard Heathcote/World Rugby via Getty Images)

World Rugby have paid tribute to Bernard Lapasset, the international federation’s former chairman who led rugby back to the Olympic Games, following his death at the age of 75. A statement read: “Bernard Lapasset will be remembered as one of sport’s finest administrators, a visionary who passionately believed in rugby’s power to unite, and who presided over the sport’s transformation and modernisation on and off the field.


“During his two terms between 2008-2016, rugby grew exponentially, establishing itself as a major global sport with record participation, audience and commercial growth, record-breaking Rugby World Cups, rugby sevens’ Olympic Games inclusion, a new brand and identity and the first major steps in the organisation’s governance reform, widening representation.

“After playing a critical role in France winning the hosting rights to Rugby World Cup 2007, a tournament that broke all audience, attendance and commercial records, Lapasset was elected chairman of World Rugby, then known as the International Rugby Board.

Video Spacer

Video Spacer

“He immediately set his sights on rugby’s return to the Olympic Games, a move he believed would be transformational for the sport. It was emphatically secured at the IOC Session in Copenhagen in 2009 and rugby sevens has never looked back.

“Lapasset did not seek re-election in 2016 in order to concentrate on Paris’ successful 2024 Olympic Games bid as co-chairman, a Games that will see rugby sevens feature prominently. His love of rugby and sport led to several accolades, including being made an officer of the legion of honour.

“In the 2006 Queen’s birthday honours, he was appointed an honorary officer of the New Zealand order of merit, for services to France–New Zealand relations, while he was awarded Japan’s grand cordon of the order of the rising sun in recognition of services to rugby and Japan’s hosting of Rugby World Cup 2019. Lapasset received the Vernon Pugh award for distinguished service at the World Rugby Awards in 2019 and then, in 2022, he was awarded the Olympic order for his contribution to the movement.”

World Rugby chairman Bill Beaumont said: “I know I speak on behalf of colleagues and the global rugby family when I say that Bernard Lapasset will be remembered as a great leader and a true visionary, who presided over huge growth in our sport, returning us to the Olympics and putting rugby on the global map.


“Throughout his tenure, his passion and dedication were always evident, and he was a champion of the sport’s values from the field of play to the boardroom and beyond. The sport can be proud of what World Rugby, its unions and the sport has achieved during his chairmanship. All our thoughts are with Jacqueline and the Lapasset family at this difficult time.”


Join free and tell us what you really think!

Join Free
RUGBYPASS+ Adam Hastings: 'When you're injured, you question a lot of things' Adam Hastings: 'When you're injured, you question a lot of things'