Agustin Pichot has marked himself as the person who can ‘redefine the future of rugby’ and lead the sport into a new era.
The former Argentina scrum-half is set to come to the end of a four-year term as vice-chairman, and has announced his candidacy to make the step up and become chairman of World Rugby.
Current chairman Bill Beaumont had appeared to run unopposed for re-election in next month’s vote.
But the ex-England captain and running mate Bernard Laporte will now face a challenge from Pichot.
Shot down in flames when proposing a radical Nations Championship, Pichot reiterated his intent to fulfil rugby’s reach across the globe.
The extreme circumstances the sport faces cannot be handled by the same, ordinary means of the old order, Pichot argued in outlaying his manifesto.
“This is a time of real crisis and doing the same old thing again and again cannot be a solution any longer,” Pichot told the Telegraph. “It’s a critical election. This is not a personal battle against Bill (Beaumont) but we are from different generations and we have different philosophies.
“The current crisis is an opportunity for the global realignment of the game. We cannot miss it. It is time to stop holding our game back. We need to engage in a more dynamic, modern and inclusive way. We need a World Rugby Management fit for purpose.
“The system does not trust World Rugby. That is the reality. I have been part of that and I hold my hand up. This is not about going against the big countries but it is about adopting a holistic approach, finding solidarity and working together.”
Outspoken about the lack of opportunity for Tier Two nations, the financial obscurity within rugby hasn’t just exposed fledgling nations.
Rugby Australia has fallen into disrepair as the body struggles to manage a dispute with players’ union RUPA (Rugby Union Players Association), which has demanded more transparency over the state of the game’s finances in Australia.
In addition, RA has stood down 75 per cent of its staff and initial forecasts estimate losses exceeding £58m should no rugby be played in 2020.
A similar figure to what England Rugby chief executive Bill Sweeney said the RFU stands to record.
Pichot’s bid to be elected comes two weeks before a virtual vote takes place on April 26, with the results announced at a World Rugby Council meeting on May 12.
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