As the International Wheelchair Rugby Federation (IWRF) World Championships start in Canada, the International Rugby Board has announced a new partnership with the IWRF to share knowledge and experience for the further development of both global governing bodies and organisations.
The world's top 12 wheelchair Rugby teams have assembled for the six-day tournament, to be played from 21-26 September. Hosts Canada are joined by Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Finland, Germany, Great Britain, Japan, New Zealand, Poland, Sweden and the USA.
Each of the nations will be hoping to clinch gold in the final on Sunday 26 September at 15.00 (local time).
On the first of six back-to-back match days the hosts kick off proceedings against Great Britain, USA play Germany, Sweden face local rivals Finland, New Zealand play Argentina, Australia face Japan and Belgium play Poland.
The groundbreaking collaboration between the two governing bodies follows initial meetings held earlier this year between representatives from the IRB and IWRF to explore ways in which both organisations can work together on key areas such as athlete welfare, exchange of training materials and cross-promotion.
The positive meeting ended with an agreement on a shared vision and relationship principles, with the IRB and IWRF agreeing to work together in a partnership based on the core values of respect, fair play and teamwork.
The IRB Executive Committee and the IWRF Board of Directors have each given their full support for continuing to establish relations and six best-practice goals have been identified for 2010 and 2011:
- Educating IRB and IWRF members on each other's
- Sharing resources in respect to player welfare
- Creating communications alliances
- Exchanging training and education resources
- Reviewing documents of mutual interest
- Having representation at each other's meetings when appropriate
IRB Chairman Bernard Lapasset said: "This is a very exciting announcement for both organisations. The collaboration, built on shared values, will enable both parties to work together on key areas of mutual benefit such as athlete welfare, training and education best practice and cross promotion. Wheelchair Rugby is a successful Paralympic sport and is growing all over the world.
"This relationship underlines the IRB's commitment to playing a full and active role in the wider sporting family and we are looking forward to what promises to be a very exciting collaboration between the two organisations. We wish the IWRF every success with their World Championships."
IWRF President John Bishop said: "We are very happy to develop this relationship with the IRB, explore our common values and work together for our mutual benefit. Wheelchair rugby is still a young sport and the IWRF is a new organisation, so we appreciate the opportunity to make links with the IRB as we develop our sport internationally. We look forward to a positive future working with the IRB."