WORLD RUGBY has announced that John Jeffrey (the former Scotland flanker who is currently Chair of the Board for Scottish Rugby Limited [SRL]) was the only nomination received to become Vice Chair of the global governing body.
That means he will be ratified as Vice Chair by the World Rugby Council at its Annual meeting which will be held virtually on 11th May. He will serve as Vice Chair for the remainder of the current term (through to November 2024).
Jeffrey will take over the position vacated by Bernard Laporte, who initially “self-suspended” himself from all rugby roles in December of last year after being found guilty of corruption charges by a French court (receiving a two-year suspended prison sentence and €75,000 fine). The matter was referred to World Rugby’s ethics officer at that time. Laporte later resigned as Chair of the French Rugby Federation in January and also quietly stepped away from World Rugby at that point, although this was not reported.
A statement from World Rugby explained:
World Rugby can confirm that John Jeffrey (Scottish Rugby Union) has been nominated in accordance with the Bye-Laws for the vacant position of the international federation’s Vice Chair and no other nominations were received.
In accordance with World Rugby Bye-Law 9, member unions were invited to submit nominations for the position by the closing date of 11 April, 2023.
In order to stand, candidates must be a current member of the World Rugby Council at the time of their nomination.
Jeffrey was proposed and nominated by the Scottish Rugby Union and seconded by South Africa Rugby Union.
As the only candidate nominated, Jeffrey is deemed elected as Vice Chair of World Rugby subject to ratification by the World Rugby Council at its Annual meeting being held virtually on 11 May, 2023. He will serve as Vice Chair for the remainder of the current term (through to November 2024).
The election of Jeffrey as Vice Chair in addition to the recent stepping down of Khaled Babbou following his retirement as Rugby Africa President creates two vacancies on World Rugby’s Executive Board. The positions will be determined via a remote voting process after the 2023 World Rugby Annual Meeting of Council.
Jeffrey is to step down as Chair of Scottish Rugby Limited [SRL] Board at the end of May, although the Board took the unusual step last November of voting unanimously to retain him as a Senior Non-Executive Board Member for a further three-year term, on the basis of “his extensive knowledge and influence in the game, especially at international level through his respective World Rugby roles”.
SRL is the operational arm of the sport in this country, which is now overseen by the Scottish Rugby Union’s ‘Custodian’ Board following the adoption of a new governance structure late last year.
According to World Rugby’s bye-laws:
The Vice-Chair role is not independent so the elected Vice-Chair shall be one of the Representatives of their Member Union or Member Association and will not be in addition to that Member Union or Member Association’s Representatives.
Former England second-row Bill Beaumont has been Chair of World Rugby since 2016 and won’t be eligible to stand again when his second term in office runs out next year.