Monday, 10 October 2011 01:29
Former England Rugby captain Bill Beaumont has announced he will stand against France's Bernard Lapasset for chairman of the International Rugby Board (IRB).
Beaumont, 59, is one of England's best known ever players who has been vice-chairman of the IRB since being elected in 2007.
The former lock, who captained the team to the Grand Slam in 1980, was capped 34 times by England and seven times by the British Lions.
Beaumont's decision to stand against Lapasset, who fronted rugby sevens' successful campaign to get on to the Olympic programme at Rio de Janeiro in 2016, at the IRB meeting in Auckland on October 19 is a surprise in the light of the current controversy surrounding the Rugby Football Union (RFU).
Beaumont is a member of the RFU Management Board but is trying to distance himself from the controversy surrounding John Steele's sacking as chief executive and the subsequent fall-out.
Beaumont said: "I am putting myself forward as Bill Beaumont the individual. I'm keeping out of all the RFU trouble. The people around the IRB table know who I am and what I stand for."
Beaumont, a member of the IRB Council since 1999, is not planning to lobby against 63-year-old Lapasset, who succeeded Ireland's Syd Millar as chairman at the election in Paris in 2007.
"What you see is what you get," he added.
To be elected Beaumont needs the support of the majority of the IRB Council, which has 26 members, nine of whom are from the British Isles.
If he wins, Beaumont will be only be the second Briton to currently be head of an Olympic sport. The only other one at the one is Scotland's Kate Caithness, who last year was elected as the first-ever female President of the World Curling Federation.