Outspoken Pichot wants World Rugby top job
NEWS: One of the more outspoken and open governing figures from recent times, Argentina’s Agustin Pichot, has announced a bid to run for World Rugby chairman.
Pichot, who earned 71 caps for the Los Pumas, has been serving as World Rugby’s vice-chairman since 2015.
The former scrumhalf previously acted on the council for the Union Argentina de Rugby (UAR) and played a key role in integrating Argentina into SANZAAR and the Southern Hemisphere’s Rugby Championship competition.
Pichot announced his intentions on Twitter:
This is a critical election at a critical time for Rugby.
I’m running to be Chairman of World Rugby. Read my plan below to see how I will:
•Secure the investment needed for our future
•Support both established and emerging unions
•Create a global game pic.twitter.com/JnQfrZEWsR
— agustin pichot (@AP9_) April 11, 2020
“It is time to think of a sport where professional and commercial income is becoming a true benefit for all, by empowering Rugby’s growth around the world and by moving on from the time where those benefits were for just a few,” Pichot’s accompanying statement said.
“It is time to align our global calendar and demonstrate our strategic intent to attract the sustainable investment we need.
“It is time to change, to focus our attention, love and dedications to all Unions and federations equally.”
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Pichot is widely considered one of the more progressive members of the World Rugby board. His sometimes contentious views are likely inspired by the fact that the traditional nations have typically dominated the decision-making at the highest level of the game.
The Argentinian played a large role in World Rugby moving from a three-year eligibility period for changing nationalities to a five-year period.
Pichot caused controversy in the lead-up to last year’s World Cup when he publically lambasted the World Rugby rankings system after Wales climbed to the top of the ladder.
Following the 2019 tournament, a Pichot Tweet caused more controversy:
Jugadores No nacidos en sus paises/ Foreign-born players en Noviembre 🏉
🇿🇦 & 🇦🇷 0%
— agustin pichot (@AP9_) November 20, 2018
The public post indicated what percentage of each World Cup teams’ players were born outside their Test nation.
The Tweet drew enormous criticism, with many calling for Pichot to resign from his post as vice-chairman.
Pichot was also a huge supporter of the proposed Nations League concept which was floated last year, which would have seen a massive shake-up of the rugby calendar and introduced a greater number of games between Tier 1 and Tier 2 nations.
Bill Beaumont, the current World Rugby chairman, recently announced he would be standing for a second term as the head of the governing body with Federation Francaise de Rugby president Bernard Laporte as his running mate.
Beaumont’s four years in charge have not seen any radical changes at the highest level of the men’s game. However, a greater number of inter-Tier Test matches are on the calendar for the upcoming World Cup cycle and the women’s game is in a better position than ever before.
Pichot’s somewhat more extreme ideas could see significant changes in the game if he were elected.
By Tom Vinicombe, Rugbypass