Latest scandal could see rugby booted from the Olympics

Fiji Rugby Union chairman Francis Kean has resigned from the world body’s council, amid allegations of homophobia and discrimination.

Kean, a key supporter of World Rugby chairman Bill Beaumont and his re-election campaign, has also been withdrawn from the upcoming elections for a place on the organisation’s executive committee.

The Daily Mail has revealed that Pacific Rugby Players Welfare chief executive Daniel Leo, an ex-Samoa skipper, is considering writing to the International Olympic Committee to ask for rugby to be suspended from the Olympics.

Leo is calling for an investigation into Kean and the unions which supported his nomination, as well as stronger vetting processes to avoid a similar situation.

“We are taking advice from our lawyers about a letter we are drafting,” the report quotes Leo.

“I’m disappointed that World Rugby haven’t launched an open investigation into Kean and France for nominating him.

“If World Rugby don’t commit to governance reforms, our next letter will be to the International Olympic Committee, asking that they consider suspending rugby as an Olympic sport until they are fully compliant with IOC obligations.

EDITORS PICKS:

“If it takes some short-term pain, i.e. being blocked from the Olympics, then so be it. But hopefully the sport can be proactive in this before that would happen.

“We have to push through now and make sure the lessons are learned and, most importantly, acted upon.”

Rugby only returned to the Olympics in 2016 after more than nine decades in exile – though this time in the form of Sevens.

Fiji coincidentally won gold in the men’s tournament, while Australia claimed victory in the women’s competition.


LIST | 5 of the biggest scandals in rugby history!

Rugby Union has had its fair share of controversial moments down the years. Here we look at five of the most memorable...

1. KAMP STAALDRAAD

It was a military-style “boot camp” organized as a “team building” exercise for the South African national rugby union team, the Springboks (or Boks), during their preparation for the 2003 Rugby World Cup (RWC). Details of the camp emerged in the South African media, resulting in protest from the upper administrative levels of South African rugby.

  • The team was ordered to climb into a foxhole naked and sing the national anthem while ice-cold water were being poured over their heads. During their time in the hole, recordings of God Save the Queen (used as England‘s national anthem) and the New Zealand All Blacks haka were played at full volume.
  • It was confirmed that firearms were present at the camp, although reports varied as to whether they were ever pointed at anyone.
  • The players were forced to crawl naked across gravel.
  • They also were ordered to spend a night in the bush, during which they were to kill and cook chickens, but not eat them.

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