The Fiji Rugby Union (FRU) has stood down its chairman from the World Rugby council amid accusations of homophobia and discrimination according to reports.
The FRU is backing Sir Bill Beaumont’s bid for re-election as chairman of World Rugby.
World Rugby said Kean is withdrawing his bid for its executive committee.
“World Rugby takes all allegations of behaviour that is not in keeping with the sport’s strong and inclusive values and bye-laws extremely seriously,” it said in a statement.
“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.”
World Rugby added it was “in the best interests of the sport” that Kean stepped down from the council as well as withdrawing his executive committee bid.
The FRU said its seat on the council will now be filled by its chief executive, John O’Connor.
World Rugby has stressed that Beaumont’s nomination came from the FRU, rather than from the chairman individually.
However, this development threatens to disrupt his campaign, with Beaumont and rival Agustin Pichot entering their final week of campaigning before the vote opens on 27 April.
Beaumont has pledged a full governance review if he is re-elected, including a ‘fit and proper persons’ test.
The election result will be confirmed at a World Rugby council meeting on 12 May.