Lapasset secures second term as IRB chairman
December 11, 2011
Bernard Lapasset has seen off the challenge of former England international Bill Beaumont to secure a second term as IRB chairman © Getty Images
International Rugby Board chairman Bernard Lapasset has been re-elected for a second consecutive term in office by members of the IRB Council at its reconvened meeting in Los Angeles.
The 64-year-old Lapasset, who faced opposition from current vice chairman Bill Beaumont, secured a majority of 14-12 from the 26 members of the Council and his new four-year term will commence on January 1, 2012. The outcome should have been decided in Auckland during the Rugby World Cup in October, but a vote was taken to delay the election until today.
With both candidates for the chairmanship coming from Europe, the vote was not expected to be split along the north-south divide, but on policy and which man would deliver the best leadership for the IRB. Beaumont was thought to have strong backing from the Home Unions, with possible support also from New Zealand and Australia. Lapasset's power base was expected to come from France and Italy, but mainly the unions who would benefit more from global expansion.
And in a further blow to Beaumont's standing at the IRB, he was defeated by South Africa Rugby Union boss Oregan Hoskins in the vote for vice chairman with Lapasset casting the deciding vote after the Council was evenly split. After two rounds of voting were deadlocked at 13-13, the chairman cast his deciding vote for Hoskins, denying Beaumont the chance to remain in the role. However, the former England and British & Irish Lions captain was appointed to the IRB Executive Committee for the next four years.
Lapasset, who has presided over rugby's return to the Olympic Games, Argentina's inclusion in The Rugby Championship, a 10-year tours and Test schedule, the awarding of Rugby World Cup to an Asian country for the first time and an exceptional Rugby World Cup 2011 during his recent term, thanked the Council for their support and paid tribute to Beaumont.
"I am honoured to accept the mandate of the Council to serve as Chairman of the International Rugby Board for another term," he said. "Together we must work to ensure that our sport remains strong for all our Unions and is able to continue its phenomenal growth around the world. As vice chairman Bill has been at the very heart of driving forward the policies that have successfully delivered the foundations for our sport to flourish over the next decade.
He also outlined his vision for sport's governing body over the next few years. "I am committed to building on the good progress to date. We have fantastic opportunities to grow the Game, to reach new markets and welcome new members to the Rugby family. Together we also have to address the issues that face our sport and many other sports, including the delivery of a robust financial model for sustainable growth for our Unions, upholding our values, promoting the best possible welfare for our athletes and maintaining integrity."
Following his promotion to the vice chairman role, Hoskins said: "It is an honour to accept this mandate. I am looking forward to working in partnership with Bernard and my colleagues on Council to ensure that Rugby is best placed to thrive as a sport at both the elite and community levels as we continue to build the platform for sustainable growth in the decade ahead that will include two Rugby World Cups and Rugby Sevens' Olympic Games debut."
In a ground-breaking move, the IRB Council has also elected representatives from Tier 2 Unions onto the IRB Executive Committee for the first time with the United States' Bob Latham and Japan's Tatsuzo Yabe stepping up. They will be joined by Beaumont (England), Giancarlo Dondi (Italy), Peter McGrath (Australia), Peter Boyle (Ireland) and Graham Mourie (New Zealand) and together they will serve alongside Lapasset, Hoskins and chief executive Mike Miller for the next four years.
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