Sir Bill Beaumont has pledged to comprehensively review the governance of rugby if he is re-elected as chairman of World Rugby.
The former England captain released his manifesto two days after Agustin Pichot announced his intent to run against Beaumont.
World Rugby will vote later this month before the results are announced in May.
Beaumont is seeking re-election as he comes to the end of a four-year term as chairman.
The timing of the election comes at a time when unions around the globe are facing substantial losses in income, with USA Rugby announcing on March 30 it had filed for bankruptcy.
Bringing strength to the sport must first start with a major shake-up of its administrative structure, Beaumont argued upon making his manifesto public.
“Our aim is to have a more representative and diverse international federation that better serves the game, not one that is seen to only support the ‘old guard’,” said Beaumont, who would be supported by Bernard Laporte as vice-chairman if re-elected.
“To achieve our aim of a strong international federation with a clear vision, we are proposing a wide-ranging governance review led by two independently appointed people. All major rugby stakeholders will be consulted, as will experts from outside the game, to help bring in fresh ideas and perspective.
“We believe that rugby is at a crossroads. If we work together there is an opportunity to make it a truly global sport played by more at the highest level and enjoyed by more at every level.
“Coronavirus is having a big impact on rugby globally. In tough times like these we need our sport to come together. It is only by working together that we can succeed. It is often true that the biggest challenges create the biggest opportunities and it is no different for rugby. We must help each other through these tough times.
“We need World Rugby, as our international federation, to be fit for purpose and seen as world leading. We need to define our purpose and mission and what kind of organisation we want in order to lead us into the future. Only then can we decide what the strategic objectives are.
“For rugby to thrive we need it to grow into a global sport and move beyond its traditional territories. We need a coherent and meaningful global calendar that supports those at the top of the game and develops those aspiring to be there. We also need to make our sport more attractive to everyone who plays and watches as well as the broadcasters.”
Beaumont had appeared set to run unopposed for re-election as chairman. But on Sunday, vice-chairman Pichot threw his hat into contention and promised to make the game truly ‘global’.