World Rugby elects Mr Alexander from South Africa on its executive committee, adopts Burkina Faso as a new associate member and welcomes back Nigeria as a full member
SA Rugby president Mr. Mark Alexander was elected to the World Rugby’s Executive Council in elections held in Dublin on Wednesday.
“It is a huge honour to be named on the executive body among a number of highly respected administrators in the game,” said Mr. Alexander from Dublin, where the World Rugby Council held their second sitting of the year.
“South Africa has had a strong representation on the executive over time, and I am proud and humbled to follow in that tradition. These are exciting times for rugby with a number of opportunities – as well as challenges – and I am delighted to be part of this group that will be determined to continue the growth and interest in the game around the world.”
World Rugby has welcomed Burkina Faso as associate members after they submitted a successful application. To become an associate member of the international federation, a rugby union must first be a full member of its regional association, in this case Rugby Africa (www.RugbyAfrique.com). Then it must meet a certain number of criteria ranging from governance to administration and from development programs to domestic and regional competitions.
Mrs Rolande Boro, President of Burkina Faso Rugby Union is naturally delighted by the news : “It is a major achievement for Burkina Faso Rugby, we have worked very hard to grow the Game here and it is starting to show on the field. Our U18 boys came third in the Africa Youth Games in July in Algiers, and our senior sevens team finished third of the African Regional Sevens tournament in September in Abidjan. We might be a small country in the world of rugby but we have clear ambitions and a strong focus to reach them. Our next objective is obviously to be admitted as full member of World Rugby in two years time.”
Indeed, only unions in full membership of World Rugby can apply for much needed funding and participate in Rugby World Cup Qualifiers.
Last but not least, Nigeria Rugby Football Federation’s suspension was lifted by World Rugby. The union had been reinstated earlier in the year by Rugby Africa once the regional association had been satisfied by the newly adopted governance process and constitution in Nigeria. Following the announcement, NRFF’s President Kelechukwu Mbagwu had this to say : “We are extremely happy and grateful to be back within the rugby family, I am particularly fulfilled that our hard work and preparations were not in vain. A big thank you to Rugby Afrique for their support and belief in us.”
Rugby Africa’s President and World Rugby Council member, Abdelaziz Bougja, was present in Dublin and instrumental in all three decisions made in connection with Africa. He reports : “It was indeed a big day for Africa on the international stage and I am really happy with the outcomes. We are strengthening our presence in the global rugby family and no one can deny that Africa is making great strides. I wish to congratulate Mr Alexander for his election at World Rugby’s Executive committee, I have no doubt that he will be making a major contribution towards African rugby in his new role. I wish all the best to Burkina Faso and Nigeria Rugby Football Federation; they are excellent examples of what can be achieved when the leadership is right and set to work to grow the Game from grassroot levels all the way to national teams. I am really proud of their success and the positive image they are conveying of rugby in their respective countries.”
He further adds : “I look forward to welcoming all our member unions in Marrakech for the African Rugby Summit from February 27th to March 3rd 2019. It will be a fantastic celebration of African Rugby concluded by our 13th General Assembly.”