Pichot blames ‘betrayal’ on WR election defeat

Rugby

Agustin Pichot has accused Rugby Africa president Khaled Babbou of “betrayal” for his defeat in the World Rugby election.

Pichot lost the election to become World Rugby chairman against incumbent Bill Beaumont by a 28-23 margin earlier this month.

He later stepped down from his role on the World Rugby Council after the result and has suggested he was let down by the voting.

“We lost by three votes where there was an incredible betrayal from Africa,” Pichot told TNT Sports. “I lost and it hurt us, today there are other people leading and I wish them all the best.

“That betrayal occurred in the last days. You are going to know why I was betrayed, favours are being made on the edge of ethics.

“On our side you will not find any type of negotiation. It was done that way and for that reason we lost. I would not have done it in any other way.

“We were 23-23 with 24 hours to go. Africa did what it did and we lost.”

Pichot served as a World Rugby vice-chairman under Beaumont for the past four years before deciding to run for the top job.

The former Argentina captain also said he would be angry if he was denied the top position due to an “act of corruption.”

“In the last week one of our group disappeared,” Pichot added. “It is May 21 and we are still looking for him. His name is Khaled Babbou. If anyone finds him, tell them.

“He came to my house, we got together in the U.S., in Europe. He was the most combative. We were going for the French revolution and suddenly he disappeared.

“One Saturday morning the South African calls me and says: ‘Did you call Khaled Babbou in the last 48 hours? Because it sounds a bit bad to me.’

“I called him and he said: ‘Wait a minute, I’m calling you now.’ He said: ‘Rest easy.’ And I never knew anything more.”

A World Rugby spokesperson said: “The election was fairly contested by two excellent leadership candidates with clear visions for the sport. It would be inappropriate to comment on unsubstantiated speculation.”

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