World Rugby council member and Bermuda Rugby Football Association Referee Dennis Dwyer believes this month's vote for a new chairman could shape the game for decades to come, writes Hugh Godwin for inews.com.
The manifestoes of Sir Bill Beaumont and Agustin Pichot in their bids to be chairman of World Rugby are in, and now the people must decide. Those people are the 51 members of the global body’s council and they include Dennis Dwyer, a lawyer and lifelong rugby man who is “semi-retired” from a legal practice in Bermuda.
You may not have heard of Dwyer but he chairs a group of six huge regional associations comprising around 100 rugby-playing countries and he will vote for either Beaumont or Pichot on behalf of one of those regions: Rugby Americas North (RAN), the grouping of the USA and Canada (who have an extra vote each), Mexico and 17 other countries in and around the Caribbean.
Dwyer, originally from Yorkshire, has lived and refereed and administered rugby in Bermuda for 40 years, although he is currently subject to the Covid-19 lockdown at his other home in Shropshire. While there are rumours in some quarters of block voting – the Six Nations for Beaumont, the Southern Hemisphere’s big four for Pichot – he says this election must be an open discussion of the two personalities and the way World Rugby shapes the sport, at grassroots and professional level.
“I’m looking at how rugby is going to be in the next 10 or 20 years; the players, and the laws, and the spectators,” Dwyer tells i. “You have got Bill, the ambassador, the elder statesman, who has been an excellent chairman in my opinion, who will deal with it in a certain way. And you’ve got Gus, who wants to do exactly the same but probably a little quicker. Gus is ambitious, eager, and in meetings he goes at 100 miles an hour. He wants it done, and done now.
“You can’t kill the goose that lays the golden egg,” Dwyer says. “Certain countries in the south have financial problems. World Rugby does a tremendous job in their grant system – it was completely overhauled so the pieces of the pie are evenly split. But everybody needs more money and World Rugby’s only revenue comes from the World Cup every four years.
“Japan has just shown how successfully an emerging country can host. There is no reason why South America, or the Americas as a whole, or the US or Canada shouldn’t be looked at as a World Cup venue [in 2027 or 2031]. It’s a question of whether they want to do it and if it is viable. It may be that securing the World Cup in one of those venues may attract the sponsors that are needed. It would be welcome on our side of the world.”