Fiji chairman Francis Kean has been forced to step down from the World Rugby Council by the FRU amid serious allegations regarding his conduct.
Kean had pledged his support to Bill Beaumont’s campaign for re-election as World Rugby chairman next month.
But a World Rugby statement confirmed the former head of the Fijian Navy and prison service would no longer be considered as a candidate for Council nor the executive committee.
This follows a report in The Sunday Times recently which claimed beatings and rapes were perpetrated by members of Fiji’s security force while Kean was in charge.
Going further to be accused of being in ‘support for corporal punishment’, Kean was also alleged to have used homophobic language in a ‘graphic recording’ taken at the time of his role as chief of the prison service.
The report caused alarm within World Rugby and led to a statement confirming Kean had been stood down.
“World Rugby notes the Fiji Rugby Union’s decision to stand down Fiji Rugby Union Chairman Ratu Vilikesa Bulewa Francis Kean from the World Rugby Council, and therefore withdrawing his candidature for the World Rugby Executive Committee, following new allegations published in the UK Sunday Times,” the World Rugby statement read.
“World Rugby takes all allegations of behaviour that is not in keeping with the sport’s strong and inclusive values and Bye-Laws extremely seriously.
“While it is important to stress that any allegations must be validated, following dialogue with World Rugby, the Fiji Rugby Union recognises the seriousness of the allegations made and the need for them to be fully investigated, and that it is in the best interests of the sport that Mr Kean steps down from the Council and his Executive Committee candidature be withdrawn.”
Beaumont’s candidacy for a second term as World Rugby chairman had been formally proposed with the backing of the Fédération Française de Rugby and seconded by the Fiji Rugby Union.
The former England captain faces opposition from vice-chairman Agustin Pichot, with the election result announced on May 12.