Kirill Yashenkov claims he will boost the profile of events and increase commercial revenues ©Russian Rugby Federation

Kirill Yashenkov has vowed to raise the profile of European events and boost the commercial growth of rugby if elected Rugby Europe President, while he has encouraged the development of beach and snow rugby.

Yashenkov, deputy chairman of the Russian Rugby Federation (RUR), is seeking to unseat incumbent Rugby Europe President Octavian Morariu when the vote is held on December 4.

The Russian official has claimed he will deliver a focused strategy for the sport in Europe should he emerge as the winner of the election.

This would reportedly focus on sponsorship, media partnerships and significant investment to raise the profile of European events.

Yashenkov claims this is key to facilitating the commercial growth of rugby in Europe across all 48 nations, particularly in a post-COVID-19 environment.

"The COVID-19 pandemic has had an extremely damaging impact on the whole of Europe's rugby family and a clear and focused strategy is needed without delay," Yashenkov said.

"Our Unions must be given comprehensive support and assistance, not just for the challenges we face today, but for many years ahead.

"My vision for European rugby begins with the creation of a robust and collaborative commercial model which will allow us to invest heavily into this incredible sport and support hosting countries to create a high-quality product.

"No more will Europe's finest rugby teams be seen in small, outdated stadiums with half-empty stands.

"Now, more than ever, our stakeholders deserve to feel confident in Rugby Europe as a transparent, collaborative and trustworthy organisation, which doesn't just reflect rugby's values but is also capable of supporting them effectively.

"Rugby Europe must implement tangible solutions that will ensure not only the recovery, but the rapid-development of rugby in Europe.

"Through my vision and passion for rugby, I will ensure an incredible future for all of rugby's unions, players and fans throughout Europe.

"People who know me know that I am a man of my word who is serious about delivering my promises."

Rugby Europe President Octavian Morariu is seeking re-election ©Getty Images
Rugby Europe President Octavian Morariu is seeking re-election ©Getty Images

Earlier this month, Yashenkov said that Rugby Europe had "stagnated" in recent years and claimed he would bring "big change" to the organisation.

His view was dismissed by Morariu, with the incumbent pointing to the launch of a new Rugby Europe club competition in the 2021-2022 season and claiming its commercial income had tripled in the past 18 months.

The two officials have offered their support to the development of beach and snow rugby.

The RUR last week signed an agreement with Rugby Europe which will see the national federation lead development of the two disciplines.

The federation will be tasked with developing the commercial value of the disciplines, providing a structured competition framework and consistent enforcement of the official rules.

It is claimed the development of the disciplines will help to promote rugby as an "all seasons and all grounds" sport.

The two organisations vowed to work together and advocate jointly for the inclusion of beach and snow rugby in European and global multi-sport Games.

"Beach and snow rugby are variations of the game that enable fans to play all year round and in all weather conditions," Morariu said.

"They are also a key-driver in the promotion of our sport. 

"We are happy to be able to support their development thanks to this agreement with the RUR, working together to improve the recognition of these disciplines by international bodies."

Yashenkov also welcomed the three-year agreement, which comes after Moscow hosted the men's and women's Beach and Snow Rugby European Championships last year.

"Our experience in organising international beach and snow rugby tournaments shows that while very simple in terms of rules and infrastructure requirements, snow and beach rugby can nevertheless bring a lot of fun and passion to participants and spectators, attracting more and more members to our rugby family," Yashenkov said.

"The agreement signed between Rugby Europe and Rugby Union of Russia is a big step towards the development of these young disciplines.

"We are confident that the member unions of Rugby Europe will receive many benefits from this agreement in the future."

The vote for Rugby Europe President will take place at the organisation's annual congress on December 4, with the meeting held virtually.

Morariu is seeking a third and final term as President.