UAE Rugby has recently been granted Associate Member status with the International Rugby Board (IRB). As an active Union, UAE Rugby fully meets the IRB membership criteria (for Associate Membership) and has been acknowledged as a driving force behind rapid participation within the UAE.
IRB highlighted that the Union has a structured organisation with full-time administrators. A domestic league with 1,300 adult registered players and 4,600 youth players. It was also recognised that UAE Rugby continues to oversee and manage a seven-team annual domestic XV’s premiership league and an eight-team conference competition. The National XV’s team competes in the HSBC Asian 5 Nations Top 5 tournament, where they finished third in 2011 and are currently in contention to retain their Top 5 status for 2012. The newly formed Emirati development national squad, Shaheen, has experienced international success in the Borneo 7’s (winning the Shield) and various 7-a-side and 10-a-side friendly games. The Union continues to host and manage successful tournaments, including the newly introduced Emirates Airline Cup of Nations XV’s tournament. UAE Rugby has also implemented pathways programmes for juniors at various Emirati schools, supported by HSBC, and has recently entered into an agreement with VEDC (Vocational Education Development Centre) to be the home of the first UAE Rugby Regional Development Centre.
The IRB Council also approved a recommendation from the IRB Executive Committee that UAE Rugby be approved as a Full Member of the IRB within 12 months, subject to positive progress and reports from the Asian Rugby Football Union (ARFU) and the IRB’s regional staff.
“UAE Rugby is very proud to have been awarded with Associate Membership of the IRB” said Mohammed Falaknaz, Chairman UAE Rugby “And we are also aware of the challenges of fulfilling the requirements to gain full IRB membership within 12 months”. “Our organisation is committed to the continued development of the game in the UAE, from the top through to grass roots for the benefit of all of our rugby community” he added.
UAE Rugby became an associate member of ARFU in 2009 and a full member in June 2011. In 2012 UAE Rugby was selected by UAE General Authority of Youth and Sports as a strategic partner and received membership with the UAE National Olympic Committee.