The UAE is set to take a lead role in shaping the future of rugby in the region following the formation of the new Arab Rugby Federation (ARF).
The ARF was officially announced on Monday after an extraordinary general meeting was held in Dubai this week.
The ARF has been formed to represent the Arab nations solely in sport of rugby, under the auspices of the Union of Arab National Olympic Committees (UANOC), with the intent to participate in regional games, which follow the pathway to World Rugby, and IOC sanctioned and recognised events.
UAE rugby chief Qais Al Dhalai has been appointed chairman, and said: “The formation of this federation is very important to the development of rugby (in the Arab world) as the sole focus is on rugby itself.
“We aim to support and stimulate World Rugby and Asia Rugby’s strategic objective of growing the game, and open doors for rugby’s inclusion at the upcoming West AsiaGames and the Arab Games, which are both owned by the UANOC.”
The ARF’s committee was also finalised, with Morocco appointed first vice chairman, Tunisia second vice chairman (both Morocco and Tunisia hold World Rugby membership), and UAERF board member Mohamed Shaker appointed as secretary general.
— ARAB RUGBY (@arabrugby) October 1, 2015
Shaker added: “I’m very confident the Arab Rugby Federation will offer various development opportunities to grow the sport among the Arab nations, which at the end of the day will benefit all parties.”
The new federation’s formation was witnessed in the presence ofnine Arab rugby bodies, with the ARF including: UAE, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, Egypt, Jordan, Libya, Tunisia and Morocco.
Meanwhile, UAE coach Roelof Kotze has called in three new players to his latest sevens squad for this weekend’s Asian Sevens Series event in Sri Lanka.
Kotze, who will step down after the competition, has included Andrew Carphin, Imad Reyal and Mohamad Hassan in his travelling party.
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