The International Rugby Board has welcomed Iran as the 118th Union in membership of the IRB after Council approved the Union’s status as an Associate Member.
The Iranian Union was awarded the status after progressing through the IRB’s comprehensive Membership Criteria programme via the IRB’s Regional Association, the Asian Rugby Football Union (ARFU), where governance, competition and development structures were assessed.
Iran is a growing force in the West Asia Region and currently has over 1,700 registered players, while the national senior men’s team were the HSBC Asian 5 Nations Division 3 champions in 2010.
The Union also runs men’s and women’s national Sevens programmes within the Asian Rugby Sevens Series structures and has made significant strides in development and performance in recent years.
“We are delighted to be welcoming Iran as an Associate Member of the IRB,” said IRB Chairman Bernard Lapasset.
“These are very exciting times for our sport with unprecedented growth and interest around the world. Today’s announcement certainly underlines Rugby’s ability to reach out to new communities and countries in every Region.”
“As home to 60% of the global population and 80% of the world’s young people, Asia is a strategically important Region for the IRB. Working in collaboration with the Asian Rugby Football Union we are currently investing over US$3 million annually in development, high performance and tournament programmes across the Region and we will ensure that Iran has the structures in place to flourish and grow on the world stage,” added Lapasset.
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