Former Argentina captain and scrum-half Agustin Pichot is set to challenge Sir Bill Beaumont as World Rugby chairman in the upcoming elections.
Pichot, who is currently the body’s vice-chairman, on Sunday declared his intent to take on Beaumont for the top job, which will be voted on at May’s World Rugby Council meetings.
The 45-year-old, who represented Los Pumas in 71 Tests from 1995 to 2007, announced the move on Twitter, with an accompanying statement calling for unity and a “long-term vision for a global game”.
“It is time to think of a sport where professional and commercial income is becoming a true benefit for all, by empowering rugby’s growth around the world and by moving on from the time where those benefits were just for a few,” Pichot’s statement read.
“The current crisis is an opportunity for the global realignment of our game.
“We cannot miss it.
“It is time to align our global calendar and our strategic intent to attract the sustainable investment we need, or risk falling back to individual handouts or grants in the absence of a long-term vision for a global game.”
Beaumont is bidding for a second term, opting to take France’s Bernard Laporte as his candidate for the vice-chairmanship rather than Pichot.
World Rugby elections have historically been fairly straightforward and Beaumont was initially expected to run unopposed after signalling his hopes for a second term.
Outspoken Pichot has courted some controversy with his views and comments in recent years as World Rugby vice-chairman.
The former Argentinian Test scrum-half was the biggest driver in the development of the ultimately scrapped Nations Championship concept.
Unable to get unanimous support for the international competition, the plans were ultimately scuppered last June but Pichot has spoken about his determination to revive the idea.
One of his most debated moments was a tweet in which he listed the percentage of Test players playing in the November Tests born outside of the nation they represent.
That tweet prompted some to call for his resignation at the time.