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Player welfare and union investment at the heart of Beaumont’s election pitch

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Bill Beaumont – the chair of the Rugby Football Union (RFU) – has revealed his vision for the sport as he bids to become chair of World Rugby.

The former England international has published his manifesto – Strong Roots for Healthy Growth – which details a five-point plan focused on the protection of players, integrity, global competition, commercial partnerships and empowering unions.

In terms of the former, Beaumont has pledged to “significantly increase investment” into research on concussion prevention and research into long-term player welfare. Funds will also be ploughed into training and equipment for pitch-side care.

Beaumont said that while World Rugby had made “significant advances” in dealing with head injuries, the concussion graph is still “simply too high”.

The 20-page document hinted that Beaumont would relax the governing body’s “overly prudent position” and drive money into individual unions so that they can invest in “modern welcoming facilities, qualified coaches and referees, volunteer workforces, and grassroots programmes”.

In light of the scandals surrounding governing bodies such as FIFA and the IAAF, as well as high profile match-fixing allegations in world tennis, Beaumont has promised to create an “Integrity Unit” to ensure “honesty and integrity work against all forms of corruption”.

“I believe passionately that the pressing need is for rugby to strengthen its roots in order to ensure healthy, sustainable growth across the globe well into the future," said Beaumont. "The rapid expansion over recent years has brought tremendous excitement and expectation, which is credit to our current chair Bernard Lapasset.

“Like every rugby team we need strength in depth. To drive our game forward across the entire world, we need to work together, enabling rugby unions to create a game that best suits their needs and nurtures their national talents.”

Lapasset will step down as World Rugby’s chair in May 2016 after eight years at the helm to concentrate on helping Paris win the right to host the 2024 Olympic Games. The new chair will be elected in May in Dublin, with nominations being accepted until 12 March.

During his tenure, the Frenchman has overseen the governing body’s rebrand from its previous guise as the International Rugby Board in 2014, as well as the vote to bring rugby 7s to the Olympic Games for the first time in Rio 2016. Beaumont now sees himself as the man to evolve the organisation further.

“Rugby has been fundamental in my life, bringing me immense enjoyment and fulfilment over many years, both as a player and administrator,” said Beaumont. “Now it is time to attempt to repay some of what rugby has given me by standing for the role of chair of World Rugby.”

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Bill Beaumont – the chair of the Rugby Football Union (RFU) – has revealed his vision for the sport as he bids to become chair of World Rugby.
SAR,PHR
Bill Beaumont has been chair of the Rugby Football Union since 2012
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