Former rugby official Leo Williams dies - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Former rugby official Leo Williams dies

15/10/2009 09:03:51 PM Comments (0)

One of the leading figures behind rugby's move into the professional era as the then chairman of the Australian Rugby Union, and later the Chairman of Rugby World Cup, Leo Williams AO, has died in Brisbane at the age of 68, the ARU announced on Thursday.

A former QRU President and ARU Chairman, Williams went on to become Chairman of Rugby World Cup Ltd from 1995 to 2000.

He was a Queensland Reds player from 1962-1965, team manager 1971-1972 and followed in the footsteps of the late Joe French as president of the QRU 1988-1995, one of the union's most successful periods.

Williams also held administrative and coaching positions at the University Club in Queensland and was made an Officer in the Order of Australia (AO) in the 1999 Australia Day Honours for his service to rugby, the law and the community.

John O'Neill, CEO and managing director of the ARU, who worked closely with Williams during his time as ARU Chairman said he contributed a great amount at both national and international level.

"He will always be remembered as being in the chair at the Australian Rugby Union at the time of the historic creation of SANZAR, and with Louis Luyt (South Africa) and Richie Guy (New Zealand) was one of the three signatories to the broadcasting contract with News Limited, which heralded the move of rugby into the professional era," O'Neill said.

"He then went on and chaired Rugby World Cup 1999 to its success in Wales, and further helped to establish the event as one of the five major sporting events on the global sporting calendar."

Funeral arrangements have yet to be announced.

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