World Rugby released a statement that refuted the claims of bribery made by the Pacific Rugby Player Welfare who published a report expressing concern that an alleged bribe was made during May's World Rugby chair and vice-chair elections, encouraging the Fijian Rugby Union to back Bill Beaumont and Bernard Laporte as president and vice-president. PRPW suggests the election was "deliberately manipulated" and "has the potential to bring the game into disrepute".
The report discusses claims by the French publication L'Equipe, made back in May, that the former Fiji Rugby Union chairman Francis Kean allegedly struck a deal to back the ticket of Beaumont and Laporte, in exchange for France hosting a Test against Fiji each year.
"World Rugby strongly refutes unsubstantiated and erroneous claims made by Pacific Rugby Players Welfare and their CEO Dan Leo regarding voting influence within the international federation’s recent election process and other governance matters.
World Rugby is completely satisfied that the 2020 chairperson election was undertaken in accordance with a robust process with Sir Bill Beaumont elected in a fair and appropriate manner.
World Rugby is an advocate of the promotion of best-practice governance structures in sport as evidenced by the recently published ASOIF report on sports governance which has independently reviewed World Rugby’s governance and ranked World Rugby as a top-performing federation.
Reflecting this commitment, World Rugby continually reviews its decision-making structures and is currently undertaking a governance review which is being independently chaired by Sir Hugh Robertson and features player representatives appointed by International Rugby Players on the working group. The review scope includes examining criteria for a fit and proper person test for elected members.
Furthermore, World Rugby only recognises International Rugby Players as the global representative body for players. Within its structures, players from the Pacific Islands are represented via Pacific Rugby Players."