Olympic Solidarity

Optimising Olympic Participation

As we look to deliver on our promise of delivering an Olympic Rugby tournament the Rugby and Olympic family will be proud of in 2016, one of the key strategic goals of the IRB’s Strategic Plan 2010-2020 is to optimise Olympic participation. Among a range of key performance indicators to measure the success of this goal is that support from Olympic bodies and governments is increased.

To help achieve this, the IRB is working with its Regional Associations and Members to provide information and advice as to how to collaborate with their respective Continental Associations of NOCs (CAs) and National Olympic Committees (NOCs) to leverage support from Olympic Solidarity.

Olympic Solidarity

Olympic Solidarity’s aim is to organise assistance for all the NOCs, particularly those with the greatest needs, so that they can develop their own structures to favour the expansion of sport in their country. To help NOCs to fulfil these objectives, Olympic Solidarity offers a consulting service to assist them in gaining access to financial, technical and administrative assistance through:

• World programmes, which cover and reinforce all areas of sports development;

• Continental programmes, designed to meet some of the specific needs of each continent;

• Olympic Games subsidies, which complement the range of programmes and offer financial support to NOCs before, during and after the Games; and

• Complementary programmes, which extend the assistance offered by Olympic Solidarity in the framework of targeted project.

Made up from the share of the broadcast rights from the Olympic Games, which belongs to the NOCs, the overall budget for Olympic Solidarity for the 2013-2016 quadrennial is US$438m, of which US$165m has been allocated to World Programmes.

Is Rugby eligible for Olympic Solidarity support?

Yes. IRB Regional Associations and Member Unions, including Associate Members and those Unions recognised by their Regional Association, are advised to build close working relationships with their CA or NOC. In doing so, information and advice can be sought from the CA/NOC as to what opportunities may be available to help develop Rugby in that territory.

Can a Union apply for funding direct to the IOC?

No, however, an NOC may apply to Olympic Solidarity for support on behalf of a Union.

What opportunities are available?

IRB Regions and Member Unions have already begun to avail of financial support across a range of World Programmes since 2013 including:

•        Technical Courses for Coaches;

•        Team Support Grants;

•        Development of National Sports Structures

·         Olympic Scholarships for Coaches; and

•        Continental / Regional Association project funding.

Since the launch of the 2013-2016 quadrennial, over US$1m of Olympic Solidarity funding has been allocated to Rugby projects worldwide.

What does my Region/Union need to do?

Rugby is well regarded in the Olympic family and Rugby’s values of integrity, respect, solidarity, passion and discipline are closely aligned with Olympic values. Many NOCs have embraced the reinclusion of Rugby onto the Olympic Programme and are willing to support well thought-out projects.

Regions/Unions should first establish a good working relationship with their CA/NOC so that each can familiarise the other with their respective strategic goals, priorities and objectives. The Region/Union should clearly explain the current situation regarding Rugby in their territory, alongside their plans and ambition for developing and growing the Game, demonstrating how this could fit in with CA/NOC plans for developing sport in their Region/Union.

What resources are available to help maximise Olympic Participation?

The IRB has developed an online toolkit to educate and assist Regions/Unions in their dealings with their CA/NOC if required and resources include information on Rugby’s Olympic participation, the Olympic Family, further detail on Olympic Solidarity programmes, presentations and press release templates etc.

In addition, IRB Regional and Development Staff are available to work with the Region/Union to develop proposals for project support when appropriate that link in with the Region/Union’s overall development plan.

Who do I contact?

For further information on these and other resources, please contact the IRB Regional Staff Member in your region:


Rugby Services Manager



Jean Luc Barthes - Regional Development Manager


North America & Caribbean

Tom Jones - General Manager



Michel Arpaillange - Regional Development Manager


Douglas Langley - Regional Development Manager



William Glenwright - General Manager


Bruce Cook - Rugby Services Manager


South America

Santiago Ramallo - Regional Development Manager


IRB Headquarters

Jaime McKeown - Development & International Relations Project Officer



Player Quotes of Support

“More than anything, Sevens embodies the Olympic ideals of camaraderie, fair play and respect on and off the field of play.”  – Shane Williams, Wales

“You play sport at the highest level to challenge yourself to be the best that you can possibly be and to compete with the best from all over the world, and what better stage to do that on than at the Olympics?” – Sue Day, England

“Going to the Commonwealth Games was amazing and to have the chance to go to the Olympics would be right up there with anything you could possibly dream of doing in sport.” – Tamati Ellison, New Zealand


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