Pacific Island rugby is in danger of being left behind as the governing body prepares to welcome a host of new nations to the voting table.
World Rugby announced in November it would give tier-two sides – all those who qualified for the previous two World Cups – a greater say in running the game by widening voting rights on council.
At the next World Rugby council meeting in May the likes of Georgia, Romania, Canada, USA, Russia and Japan are expected to be given a full seat – and more say around major issues.
As for the Pacific Islands, none meet the criteria which stipulates, among other things, unions must hold democratic elections, provide five years of independently audited accounts and annual general meeting minutes to satisfy requirements.
“At this point in time the three Pacific Island unions don’t meet that governance criteria,” Will Glenwright, World Rugby’s Asia and Oceania general manager, said in regards to gaining a full seat on the council. “We are working with them in partnership with Oceania Rugby to ensure we get all three of those unions compliant with that criteria as quickly as possible. We’re actively working with Fiji, Samoa and Tonga on that.”
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