World Rugby Chairman Sir Bill Beaumont awarded Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the British Empire

Sir Bill Beaumont was recognised for his service to the betterment of rugby on and off the field
Sir Bill Beaumont was recognised for his service to the betterment of rugby on and off the field

World Rugby Chairman Sir Bill Beaumont has been awarded the Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the British Empire for services to Rugby Union and charity in this year’s New Years Honours List.

Already Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE), he was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in the 2008 Birthday Honours and was knighted in the Queen's New Years Honours list in 2019.

Beaumont has represented England since 1999 on World Rugby board and took over as Rugby Football Union chairman in 2012. He later replaced Bernard Lapasset as chairman of World Rugby in 2016 and is currently on a second term.

The 71-year-old was recognized for his expansion-oriented approach, has overseen groundbreaking and transformative Rugby World Cups for both men and women. These include the exceptional events in Japan (2019), New Zealand (2022), and France (2023).

Under his leadership, reforms have been implemented in the Rugby World Cup hosting structure, ensuring enhanced long-term financial stability. Moreover, he has confirmed the expansion of the women’s Rugby World Cup from 12 to 16 teams for the 2025 edition in England. Similarly, for the subsequent men’s edition in Australia in 2027, the expansion from 20 to 24 teams has been approved during his tenure.

“I am humbled and honoured to receive this accolade from His Majesty the King," said Beaumont in a statement released by the World Rugby.

"I have always viewed my work as a rugby administrator as that of a guardian, driven by a passion to do the very best I can for rugby, its players, fans, and all those who give up their time to volunteer at grassroots level around the world. This accolade is as much recognition for our rugby family as a whole, and all who work tirelessly in the sport, as it is for me.

“Rugby has been my life for more than half a century and has given me so much joy as a player, a father and grandfather to rugby-playing sons and a granddaughter, and as an administrator. I am very fortunate to be in a position to give back to the sport I love, and I am as passionate now about rugby now as I was when representing Fylde, Lancashire, England or the British and Irish Lions.

"Rugby continues to transform, progress and advance as a sport and a movement and I am proud of what we have achieved in recent years," he added.

"From exceptional men’s and women’s Rugby World Cups and historic international calendar transformation to the exciting advancement of the women’s game, we will never stand still in making the sport the best it can be to all its participants and fans.

"To that end, I am particularly proud of the strong progress we have made in the priority area of player welfare and I remain unswerving in my commitment to making rugby even more safe, accessible and relevant. We are on a very exciting journey with a very bright future.

“I have said it many times – in my opinion, rugby is the ultimate team sport – a sport with strong values and where the team is always greater than the individual.

"I have been blessed to have played and worked with incredible people along the way who share the same passion for the betterment of the sport as I do. There is one person who has been at my side, a constant support from my playing days to now, my wife Hilary. She is my inspiration and rock.”


2019 Rugby World Cup Points Table