World Rugby launches inquiry into Fiji chairman over homophobia allegations

World Rugby has begun an inquiry into the chairman of the Fiji Rugby Union (FRU), which seconded Sir Bill Beaumont’s bid for re-election as boss of the global game’s governing body.

The investigation into Francis Kean was launched after a story in The Sunday Times, which referred not only to Kean’s conviction for manslaughter in 2007 but also allegations of homophobia.

Former England captain Beaumont, 68, is standing against Agustín Pichot, the ex-Argentina scrum-half, for a second four-year term in the election.

World Rugby has emphasised that Beaumont’s nomination came from the FRU, rather than from Kean, who is also attempting to secure a place on World Rugby’s executive committee, individually.

“World Rugby notes allegations in the UK Sunday Times about Fiji Rugby Union chairman Ratu Vilikesa Bulewa Francis Kean and takes the nature of these allegations extremely seriously,” said a statement from the governing body.

“Rugby is a sport built on strong and inclusive values and World Rugby does not in any way condone abusive or discriminatory behaviour as enshrined within its bye-laws.

“It would be inappropriate to comment further until we have discussed the matter fully with the Fiji Rugby Union and have established all the facts.”

The vote by the organisation’s 51-person council opens on April 26, with the results declared on May 12.

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