Activist may ask IOC to kick rugby out of Olympics over World Rugby ‘non-compliance’

Planet7s.com staff

A former Samoa captain may petition the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to suspend rugby from the Games because he says the sport’s governing body is non-compliant with IOC regulations, the Daily Mail reported.

Daniel Leo, an ex-Samoa captain and chairman of Pacific Rugby Player Welfare, wants World Rugby to launch an investigation into Fiji Rugby Union chief Francis Kean after allegations of homophobia and discrimination that saw him stood down as a candidate for the body’s executive council.

The scandal comes at a time when World Rugby chairman Bill Beaumont is facing an election challenge from Argentina’s Agustin Pichot for the top post next month. The Fiji union seconded Beaumont’s bid for re-election after he was proposed by France.

Leo was quoted in the Daily Mail as saying he wants the IOC to suspend rugby from the Olympic Games if World Rugby refuses to take action, suggesting that the body may be in breach of the IOC code of ethics.

“We are taking advice from our lawyers about a letter we are drafting,” Leo was quoted as saying. “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.

“If it takes some short-term pain, ie 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 returned to the Olympic fold at the 2016 Rio Games with the sevens format, proving popular among fans as Fiji took the gold medal with victory over Great Britain in the final. Rugby sevens was scheduled for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, which have been delayed by one year because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Main photo: IOC

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