Convicted killer Francis Kean nominated to World Rugby executive committee

Chairman of Fiji rugby union was sentenced to 18 months for manslaughter in 2007

Convicted killer Francis Kean has been nominated for the World Rugby executive committee. Kean, the chairman of the Fiji rugby union, was seconded by the French rugby federation.

On December 31st, 2006 Kean killed a man at the wedding of Fiji prime minister Frank Bainimarama’s daughter. In 2007 the former commander of the navy was convicted of manslaughter and sentenced to 18 months.

Kean is currently Fiji's only representative on the World Rugby Council – the highest group in the governance structure – and he is also the commissioner of the Fiji corrections service.

"Ratu Vilikesa Bulewa Francis Kean (Fiji Rugby Union), nominated and proposed by the Fiji Rugby Union and seconded by the Fédération Française de Rugby," read part of a World Rugby statement on Wednesday morning.


Seven available positions on the executive committee, from eight nominations, will be decided at the annual meeting of World Rugby Council on May 12th.

It has also been confirmed that former Argentina scrumhalf Agustín Pichot will challenge Bill Beaumont to be chairman of the governing body. Cast by secret ballot, victory will be achieved by a simple majority.

“The vote numbers will be published,” World Rugby confirmed.

Both Beaumont and Pichot are campaigning on the key pillars of governance reform, reviving the global season idea and a review of World Rugby’s finances.

In Beaumont’s re-election manifesto he states that an independent “wide ranging governance review” will look at the “purpose, role, remit and membership of exco, council, general assembly and committees.”

Pichot, in an interview with the Mail on Sunday, spoke about a World Rugby management that is “fit for purpose” and intends to review all internal structures to “restore trust” in the governing body.

“The system does not trust World Rugby, that’s the reality” said Pichot. “We have let politics get inside the organisation and that’s not good. I have been a part of it and I should have pushed harder for a fairer system.”

Along with Kean, the other nominations for exco are Mark Alexander (South Africa), Kaled Baddou (Rugby Africa), Bart Campbell (New Zealand), Gareth Davies (Wales), John Jeffrey (Scotland), Bob Latham (USA) and Brett Robinson (Australia).

“To be elected, executive committee nominees need to be one of the seven candidates who win the highest number of votes,” World Rugby concluded. “With the current Covid-19 pandemic making it impossible for meetings to go ahead as scheduled, World Rugby has confirmed that the schedule of May council and committee meetings will be held remotely.”

PWC has been appointed as independent auditors for the election.

Gavin Cummiskey

Gavin Cummiskey

Gavin Cummiskey is The Irish Times' Soccer Correspondent