Beaumont heads to the second term with rugby 'at a crossroads'

Face and manage an unprecedented financial crisis. Uniting the northern and southern hemispheres on a global calendar. Keep up the growth of women's games and sevens.

All while you don't even know exactly when rugby you can come back by following the coronavirus outbreak.

Bill Beaumont he has a lot of work on his hands after being reelected as president of World rugby - The most powerful position in sport.

It's time to get down to business, Beaumont said Sunday when he expressed his hopes, plans and concerns ahead of his second four-year term as the world's governing body after beating Agustin Pichot in the election.

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Beaumont, a popular, avuncular figure who was England captain in the 1980s, discussed a range of subjects and challenges facing rugby in the short and medium term. He freely acknowledged, however, that rugby remains at the mercy of the coronavirus.


Like almost every other sport, rugby has been shut down since the middle of March because of the outbreak. The nature of the game - there is arguably more contact in rugby than in any other sport - makes it even tougher to know when it will be ready to resume.

The Six Nations of the northern hemisphere have not yet finished, the Southern Hemisphere Rugby Championship has not yet started, and international matches during the summer seem to be in ruins.

All are money-spinners for a sport so reliant on revenue from the international game. That's not even counting the club game. New Zealand forecasts a 70 percent drop in revenue, the Australians are facing a black hole of more than $70 million, and English rugby could take an even bigger financial hit. World rugby has delivered a relief fund of approximately $100 million to assist unions through to the end of 2020, but Beaumont accepts that "probably is not enough."

There is no magic money tree, Beaumont said. If we hadn't been very lucky to have great success Rugby World Cup in Japan then we would be facing a much bleaker outlook than we have at the moment.

Beaumont hopes the cash injection can cover unions looking to replay the postponed games later in 2020, though that is not assured and could clash with club games. We can move international windows, Beaumont said, when asked if international matches could be reorganized for Christmas Day, but it should be in consultation with our interest groups, and that is clubs in Europe, in the north. have a consensus of opinion for the entire game, taking into account the pressure suffered by the clubs and the provinces.


Beaumont says there is an appetite to revive the League of Nations proposal that was abandoned less than a year ago because there was no consensus among major unions on issues like format and when it would take place. It is a competition, potentially backed by private finances worth $ 7.5 billion over 12 years, that would invigorate the sport and attract global interest. But problems persist about which countries would be involved and whether it would present aspects such as promotion and decline.

We are at a crossroads for the game, Beaumont said. And the only thing that has happened is that there is a real desire from both the north and the south to bring our game together. And one thing I'm good at is bringing people together.

He said he would push for the world league to be played in the international windows of July and November, for the north to go south in one month and the south to go north in the next month, leaving the Six Nations as independent competition. played in February and March as usual.

Beaumont added that the global league may not necessarily include all Six Nations, and that there may be subsidiary competition involving all emerging nations.


Beaumont questioned whether the state of the game was fit for modern purposes because there was a precious little space for the smallest and most skilled players.

We can't just make it that it's the domain for huge players, Beaumont said of a sport that he claimed was played in 98 percent of the world. Further changes may therefore be brought in to achieve a greater balance in this respect. Beaumont added there had not been any discussions about rule changes in reaction to the coronavirus pandemic.


Beaumont insisted his plans to grow women's rugby, which also involve a global competition with promotion and relegation, will not be derailed by the pandemic.

"I am challenging the World rugby executive team and saying we have to find the money for it," he said. "It is a commitment by us and hopefully we can get things up and running as soon as feasibly possible."

Beaumont said there was a high demand for the best players, especially with the Olympics delayed until 2021, the year of the upcoming Women's World Cup in New Zealand. She added, however, that there was no reason for delays in changes to the structure of the women's game.


Beaumont plans to make major changes to the eligibility rules, in particular giving players born in the Pacific Islands the opportunity to perform in their home country, even if they have already opted for other international teams like New Zealand or England.

It would mean a review of "Regulation 8" and he wants that to take place immediately. Beaumont said it would the increase the pool of players available for Pacific island nations and "improve the competitiveness of a Rugby World Cup , without a doubt."