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Richie McCormack
Richie McCormack

20.28 20 Apr 2020


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Pacific Rugby Players Welfare have written to the World Rugby Council urging them, in the strongest terms, not to elect Francis Kean to its Executive Committee. 

Kean's name came to prominence at the weekend when The Sunday Times printed allegations of "rampant homophobia" against the Fijian.

In 2007, Kean was convicted of manslaughter following the death of John Whippy.

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Kean is one of eight people running for the seven available places on the World Rugby Council's Executive Committee at next month's elections.

Bill Beaumont is standing for re-election as World Rugby chairman against Agustin Pichot. Beaumont's nomination was proposed by the French Rugby Union, and seconded by Fiji's which is helmed by Kean.

World Rugby responded to the allegations against Kean by saying:

World Rugby notes allegations in the UK Sunday Times about Fiji Rugby Union chairman Ratu Vilikesa Bulewa Francis Kean and takes them extremely seriously.

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

World Rugby is currently in dialogue with the Fiji Rugby Union about the nature of the allegations and it would be inappropriate to further comment at this time.

Pacific Rugby Players Welfare is a not-for-profit organisation that supports professional and semi-professional players of Pacific Island heritage in the UK and Europe

They have piled even further pressure on Kean and World Rugby with their open letter to the World Rugby Council.

In the letter, they contend, "It is extraordinary to anyone involved in the game in the Pacific that Kean is even on the ballot.

"His time in office has become a byword for intimidation, vindictiveness, corruption and self-dealing, nepotism, and the threat and realisation of violence."

Kean is a former head of the Fijian Navy and the brother-in-law of sitting Prime Minister - and Fijian Rugby Union president - Frank Bainimarama.

Another of Kean's current roles in Fiji are also causing Pacific Rugby Players Welfare more than a little concern, "just this weekend, four of Kean’s prison officers were charged in relation to the death earlier this week by ‘blunt force trauma’ of a prisoner in a remand centre", the add.

"Two officers face counts of murder and the others of assault.

"Kean has served as commissioner of prisons since 2016 and the forces under his command have become a byword for state-sanctioned violence."

The letter - signed by Pacific Rugby Players Welfare director Dan Leo concludes by asking the World Rugby Council "to honour the memory of those in the game who came before us and to uphold those timeless values of integrity, respect, solidarity, passion and discipline that we all wish to mean something so that we can pass them on to the next generation."


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Agustin Pichot Bill Beaumont Fiji Fijian Rugby Union Francis Kean World Rugby

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