Dubai, United Arab Emirates, December 8, 2020: Iran and Laos were awarded full member status of World Rugby at a recent virtual interim council meeting of the world governing body.
World Rugby officially welcomed three unions as full members – Iran, Laos and Burkina Faso – and two new unions as associate members, Nepal and Panama. This brings the global membership to 128 unions.
Asia Rugby President Qais Al Dhalai said: “It is fitting that, on the first anniversary of being elected President of Asia Rugby, that we hear this wonderful news. For me there is no better gift than seeing the Asia Rugby family grow bigger and go from strength to strength.”
He added: “I would further like to thank Dr Hassan Mirzaaghabeik, President of Iran Rugby Association, Mr. Virayouth Rathikoun, President of Lao Rugby Federation, and Mr. Tanka Lal Ghising, President of Nepal Rugby Association, as they have worked tirelessly to grow the game in their respective countries and have also supported me in growing the game in Asia.”
The unprecedented growth has been driven by increases in women’s interests and participation in the sport along with surging enthusiasm in rugby’s emerging nations.
Iran has been an associate member of World Rugby since 2013 and is a full member of Asia Rugby. Laos has been an associate member of World rugby since 2005 and is also a full member of Asia Rugby. Women’s rugby is popular in both countries.
Nepal’s addition as an associate member follows the successful hosting of the Rugby World Cup 2019 Trophy Tour in December 2018 when the Webb Ellis Cup made its first-ever visit to Nepal. More than 2,500 people took part in a Get Into Rugby festival in Kathmandu before the famous trophy reached its highest point to date – 5,500 metres up the Himalayas. Nepal has been a full member of Asia Rugby since 2018.
Source: Asia Rugby