Former England coach Sir Clive Woodward has issued an emphatic plea for rugby’s world leaders to make an informed choice about the future of the game.
Writing in his Daily Mail column, the coach of the 2003 World Cup winners said: ‘I wonder if all those voting for the chairmanship of World Rugby on Sunday realise the great gift and opportunity they have – or what a pivotal moment for the game this is.’
Not only did Woodward outline his plan but he took the extra step of throwing his weight behind former Argentina scrumhalf Agustin Pichot, who is bidding to replace Bill Beaumont as chairman of World Rugby.
‘Proceed with the international closed shop – which rugby has been for a century or more – and the game we love could be in very deep trouble. But if we look to change and embrace a new mindset, there is the opportunity to grow and flourish,’ added Woodward.
Woodward’s 10-point plan:
1 – VOTE FOR PROMOTION AND RELEGATION AT TEST LEVEL
2 – VOTE FOR DEMOCRACY
The extraordinary perversion of democracy and good governance at World Rugby is alarming.
Ten nations – the Six Nations and the four Rugby Championship teams – have three votes each and the other 70-plus rugby nations have 21 between them.
Italy, ranked 14th in the world, have three votes yet Japan (ninth) have two and Georgia (12th) just one. Why has this been allowed to continue? Who governs rugby – the world governing body or a cabal of 10 nations?
3 – VOTE FOR TRANSPARENCY
4 – VOTE TO ABOLISH THE TERMS TIER 1 AND 2
5 – VOTE TO SUPPORT THE PACIFIC NATIONS
6 – VOTE FOR FAIR DISTRIBUTION OF WORLD CUP PROFITS
7 – VOTE FOR A WIDER ROLE FOR THE LIONS
8 – VOTE AGAINST PLAYERS REPRESENTING TWO NATIONS
9 – VOTE TO ABOLISH PROJECT PLAYERS
These are mainly Kiwis and South Africans coming to live and play for clubs in Europe (getting very well paid in the process) and then being parachuted into national sides after three years. We all know deep down that this is wrong, so why don’t we outlaw it? At the very least insist on a seven-year residency to truly test the commitment of a player.
10 – VOTE FOR CHANGE AND A NEW FUTURE