World Rugby and Bill Beaumont face backlash after France named 2023 host

first_imgWorld Rugby was left embarrassed and in disarray on Wednesday night after France was announced as the surprise host of the 2023 Rugby World Cup, prompting accusations of horse-trading and a power struggle at the heart of the sport’s governing body.The outcome of the secret ballot casts a huge shadow over World Rugby’s decision to commission a painstaking evaluation report, which last month recommended South Africa as the “clear leader”, only for its council to throw its weight behind France two weeks later.It is also a devastating blow to the World Rugby hierarchy, including the chairman, Bill Beaumont, after the 139-page report was published in the interests of transparency and to avoid accusations of the kind of political lobbying that has tarnished similar processes in football and Olympic circles. While it has been rife over the past two weeks, it is understood infighting at the centre of World Rugby also significantly contributed to France’s win. … we have a small favour to ask. More people, like you, are reading and supporting the Guardian’s independent, investigative journalism than ever before. And unlike many news organisations, we made the choice to keep our reporting open for all, regardless of where they live or what they can afford to pay.The Guardian will engage with the most critical issues of our time – from the escalating climate catastrophe to widespread inequality to the influence of big tech on our lives. At a time when factual information is a necessity, we believe that each of us, around the world, deserves access to accurate reporting with integrity at its heart.Our editorial independence means we set our own agenda and voice our own opinions. Guardian journalism is free from commercial and political bias and not influenced by billionaire owners or shareholders. This means we can give a voice to those less heard, explore where others turn away, and rigorously challenge those in power.We hope you will consider supporting us today. We need your support to keep delivering quality journalism that’s open and independent. Every reader contribution, however big or small, is so valuable. Support The Guardian from as little as $1 – and it only takes a minute. Thank you. 1999 (Wales)Final: Millennium Stadium, Cardiff Winners: Australia Read more Reuse this content Show South Africa hit out at a process described by its union’s chief executive, Jurie Roux, as “exhaustive and transparent for 15 months” only to go “entirely opaque for the past two weeks”. Mark Alexander, the South African union’s president, accused World Rugby’s council members of “breaking the rules” and its code of conduct after an ugly fortnight of recriminations, claims and counterclaims from France and Ireland over the validity of the report.“There was a set of rules and we abided by those rules up to today,” Alexander said. “Several rules were broken during that process, which we are upset about. This is the first time ever World Rugby has got a recommendation and it has been voted against. South African rugby did not attack any of the other bidders throughout the process. It is disappointing – we have a set of rules and we have to stick to the rules.”France struck a triumphant note after being awarded a tournament it hosted only 10 years ago. The union’s president, Bernard Laporte, has been waging war against World Rugby’s recommendation that he described as “nonsense and full of errors” over the past two weeks but spearheaded a charm offensive since then. Laporte has lobbied hard to convince council members of a bid that pledged a £500m guarantee to World Rugby, including £350m for reinvestment. “We did dispute some aspects but I’m not saying that’s why we won,” he said. Photograph: Stefan Wermuth/X90073 Share on Pinterest Share on LinkedIn France obtained 18 votes in the first round to South Africa’s 13, with Ireland eliminated, having received eight. France then triumphed 24 to 15 in the second round and it is understood World Rugby council members have grown concerned at the amount of power wielded by Beaumont, his vice-chairman Agustîn Pichot and the chief executive Brett Gosper, and seized the opportunity to flex their muscles by snubbing the recommendation.South Africa received only a third of the council’s 39 votes in the first round, with England believed to be the only tier-one nation to back Ireland, then supporting France in the second round.“Humiliation for me? I don’t think so. I don’t think so at all,” said a defiant Beaumont, who, as a former chairman and a former England captain, would have hoped for the Rugby Football Union to back South Africa. “Just because it went to France, that doesn’t mean there’s humiliation whatsoever. I think it was a very fair process and a transparent process. Countries will have disagreed with the scoring and that is obvious. You can’t blame them for that.” Share on Messenger 2007 (France)Final: Stade de France, Paris Winners: South Africa  Topics Courtney Lawes backs Owen Farrell to lead England charge against Australia 1991 (England, Ireland, Wales, Scotland, France)Final: Twickenham, London Winners: Australia Support The Guardian 2019 (Japan)Final: International Stadium, Yokohama Was this helpful? 1987 (New Zealand)Final: Eden Park, Auckland Winners: New Zealand  2015 (England)Final: Twickenham, London Winners: New Zealand  Hide Rugby World Cup Share via Email South Africa’s support came from Australia, New Zealand, Argentina – in a show of Sanzaar solidarity – and Wales, because the WRU chairman, Gareth Davies, was on the subcommittee that recommended the evaluation. South Africa did not even get the backing of the African continental association.France was backed by the majority of the continental associations, including Africa, as well as Scotland and Italy. Ireland was largely limited to English and the North American vote and the IRFU chief executive, Philip Browne, admitted his frustration at a failure to gain the backing of all the home nations. “We are very disappointed they didn’t vote for us,” he said. “Scotland went for the money and Wales went out of solidarity with Gareth Davies, England supported us and we have to thank England for that.”Browne acknowledged France’s finances had proved pivotal and questioned whether nations such as Ireland, or the 2011 host, New Zealand, would have been selected again under the current process. “The reality is that unless you have big shiny new stadia you have to wonder why you would bid,” he said. “World Rugby need to decide what sort of tournament they want and make sure everyone understands what their vision is at the outset.”Beaumont conceded the bidding process will almost certainly be changed. “Should there have been a recommendation? We’ll look at all these things in a debrief,” he said. 2011 (New Zealand)Final: Eden Park, Auckland Winners: New Zealand Since you’re here… Rugby union Quick guide Rugby World Cup hosts Thank you for your feedback. news Read more Share on WhatsApp 2023 (France) Bravo, France, but at what cost to rugby’s transparency and integrity? 2003 (Australia)Final: Stadium Australia, Sydney Winners: England Share on Twitter Share on Facebook 1995 (South Africa)Final: Ellis Park, Johannesburg Winners: South Africa last_img read more

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