Fijian rugby boss and convicted killer forced to resign amid allegations of ‘violent homophobia’

Francis Kean, chairman of the Fiji Rugby Union

A member of the World Rugby council has quit after an alleged recording of him making violent homophobic comments surfaced.

Francis Kean, the head of the Fiji Rugby Union, was running for a place on the World Rugby Executive Committee – but his campaign was derailed after it was revealed he is a convicted killer with a homophobic past.

Over the weekend, the UK’s Sunday Times newspaper said that it had obtained a recording of Kean – the brother-in-law of Fiji’s anti-LGBT+ prime minister Frank Bainimarama – going on a violent homophobic tirade in his day job running the Fijian prison service, allegedly instructing two officers to assault a young official.

In the clip, he vented: “We are not breeding poofters and weaklings here… we must f**k them up.”

Kean, who also had a manslaughter conviction for killing a man in a fight at a wedding, has now resigned from World Rugby after an investigation was launched.

Rugby boss Francis Kean steps down ‘in the best interests of the sport’.

The body said in a statement: “World Rugby takes all allegations of behaviour that is not in keeping with the sport’s strong and inclusive values and bylaws extremely seriously.

“While it is important to stress that any allegations must be validated, following dialogue with World Rugby, the Fiji Rugby Union recognises the seriousness of the allegations made and the need for them to be fully investigated, and that it is in the best interests of the sport that Mr Kean steps down from the council and his executive committee candidature be withdrawn.

“The Fiji Rugby Union has confirmed that its seat on the World Rugby Council will be filled by union CEO John O’Connor.”

Francis Kean, chairman of the Fiji Rugby Union

Francis Kean, chairman of the Fiji Rugby Union

It is unclear whether Kean has also stood aside from his role with the Fiji Rugby Union itself, however.

World Rugby chairman Sir Bill Beaumont, who had the backing of Kean in his own re-election bid, said: “The Fiji Union have nominated one of their elected officials to stand for the Executive Committee for which eight candidates are standing for seven positions to be elected by the council.

“World Rugby does not make the decision as to who stands. It is a matter for the union. As stated in my manifesto, I will be undertaking a full review of the organisation’s governance to ensure that our decision-making bodies are the best they can be.”