African Rugby unveils blueprint for growth

(IRB.COM) Friday 24 December 2010
 African Rugby unveils blueprint for growth
Zimbabwe will represent Africa at the IRB Junior World Rugby Trophy 2011 in Georgia

The Confederation of African Rugby, the Regional body responsible for the administration and governance of Rugby in Africa, has approved a series of exciting measures that will provide another major boost for the ongoing development of the Game in Africa.

The key measures, approved by the 23 Unions in Membership of the IRB at the Region’s General Assembly in Accra earlier this month, include the implementation of a new Strategic Plan, the approval of a new Operational Plan and restructuring of the Regional competition model.

The three actions will ensure that Africa is in the best possible position to optimise the benefits of Rugby’s Olympic inclusion and will provide the blueprint for accelerated growth in both existing and emerging Rugby markets.

Central to the new vision is the implementation of a new four year Strategic Plan that will provide the direction for stability and is aimed at increasing men’s and women’s participation and promoting elite competition success. There are currently 660,000 registered players in Africa, but the goal is to increase participation to 800,000 by Rugby World Cup 2015. An Operational Plan, overseen by the International Rugby Board, will drive strategies and budgets.

Another important element will be the restructuring of the men’s and women’s competition model throughout the Region including the CAR Africa Cup. Last year Kenya hosted a hugely successful IRB Junior World Rugby Trophy which included a legacy programme to introduce 100,000 children to Rugby over a four year period. It is a template that competition structures will emulate in order to provide lasting benefits for hosts and enable Unions to attract future major events.

"This is a big step forward for the Game in Africa, which is a strategically important growth Region for the IRB with nearly a third of the world’s playing population,” said IRB Chairman Bernard Lapasset.

“The IRB currently invests over US$2.8 million a year in CAR Union development programmes and Regional tournament infrastructure aimed at raising the competitiveness of the Game in Africa and we are working in partnership with CAR to ensure that Rugby continues to flourish throughout the Region.”

“In 2007 a historic accord was signed with the Association of National Olympic Committees of Africa (ANOCA) aimed at jointly fostering sport and Rugby in the Region. Popularity and participation has been boosted by the Olympic Games decision and there is considerable interest from National Olympic Committees who are keen to establish relationships with National Unions in Africa. These are exciting times for Rugby in Africa and this new framework implemented by CAR will ensure that the sport continues to reach out to new men, women and children in Africa,” added Lapasset.

Other outcomes of the CAR General Assembly saw a new Executive Committee elected with Abdelaziz Bougja re-elected as CAR President and IRB Council Member. There was also an historic first in Gifty Annan-Myres (Ghana) the first woman to be elected to the CAR Executive Committee.

“I am delighted that we have opened the way for a new vision for Africa. I would like to thank the CAR Member Unions for their commitment to growing the Game across Africa and the IRB for their support throughout this process, a process that will ensure that Rugby can welcome new members to the family from new communities across Africa,” said Bougja.

The meeting also saw a partnership agreement signed between CONFEJES (the Conference of Ministers and Youth and Sport of French speaking countries) and CAR that will see the youth sports body provide technical support and training assistance to the French speaking Unions in the Region.

In 2011 CAR will also launch a new website aimed at providing competition and participation information, training materials and key contacts.