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Rugby’s Global Expansion Increases In Africa

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World Rugby’s reach across Africa grew further as Algeria and Burundi became full members of the international federation following approval at the World Rugby Council meeting, held virtually today.

The African nations were successful after achieving all the necessary criteria and their elevation to full member status sees World Rugby’s membership stand at 128, including 109 full members and 19 associate members.

See full List of World Rugby Member Unions >> (https://bit.ly/3tE9SRP)

The announcement follows the launch of World Rugby’s new Strategic Plan 2021-25 in April, which provides a framework for the continued development and expansion of rugby, supporting unions and regions in building capacity and capability, as the international federation strives to continue the journey towards becoming a global sport for all.

Both the Fédération Algérienne de Rugby and the Federation Burundaise de Rugby are full members of Rugby Africa and have sustainable women’s rugby and development programmes in place as they continue to grow as rugby nations.

Burundi currently has 2750 registered players and has been an associate member of World Rugby since 2004, while Algeria has over 80 men’s and 40 women’s teams and became an associate member in 2019.

Both countries will enter the qualification journey for Rugby World Cup 2023 as they are set to compete in the Rugby Africa Cup 2021.

The competition begins with a repechage event in June before the group phase sees four pools of three teams each playing a round-robin tournament at a single venue per pool.

Burundi will compete in the Rugby Africa Cup repechage in Burkina Faso from 5-13 June which also includes Burkina Faso and Cameroon.

The winner of the repechage will join Rugby Africa Cup Pool D in Tunisia in July together with Tunisia and Zimbabwe. Meanwhile Algeria will play in the Rugby Africa Cup Pool C in Kampala against Ghana and hosts Uganda from 10-18 July.

The best two teams from each pool qualify for Rugby Africa Cup 2022, which serves as the final round of the Rugby World Cup 2023 qualifier for Africa.

The eventual winner of the Rugby Africa Cup in August 2022 will qualify for RWC 2023 as Africa 1, entering group A alongside hosts France, while the runner-up will enter the final qualification tournament for another chance at qualifying.

Increasing the reach and diversity of the international federation’s membership represents a key element of World Rugby’s global growth strategy, ensuring that upon meeting the relevant criteria unions are provided with a framework and support to continue their growth and development as part of the World Rugby family.

World Rugby Chairman Sir Bill Beaumont said: “We are very pleased to welcome Algeria and Burundi as full members, reflecting their commitment and progress in achieving the relevant criteria, thanks to the many talented coaches, administrators and volunteers involved in growing the sport.

“We are dedicated to the sustainable global growth of our sport, combined with strong governance and there is no doubt that Africa is a key region with huge potential for the future development of rugby. Africa is home to the current men’s Rugby World Cup winners and we will continue to work closely with Rugby Africa to ensure we provide emerging unions such as Algeria and Burundi with continuous support and a solid framework to further accelerate the growth of the sport across the region.”

Mr Khaled Babbou, President of Rugby Africa said: “I am delighted to welcome the Burundian and Algerian rugby unions as full members of World Rugby, bringing the total number of African member unions of World Rugby to 20. Rugby in Africa is growing rapidly and our strategic focus on youth and women’s rugby is evidence of this dynamic growth.

“In 2020, we recorded more than 350,000 registered female players in Africa, up from 50,000 in 2012. This is the result of a firm collective commitment from all African unions. I wish to congratulate Mr Albert Havyarimana, President of the Fédération Burundaise de Rugby and Mr Abdelkader Sofian Ben Hassen, President of the Fédération Algérienne de Rugby for their dedication and relentless efforts culminating in this recognition today. Both countries are in the running for Rugby World Cup 2023 qualification for the first time in their history and the entire African rugby family wishes them good luck in this new chapter.”

Albert Havyarimana, President of the Fédération Burundaise de Rugby: “This affiliation was long awaited by all the participants of Burundian rugby and comes as a reward for many years of hard work. From now on, it becomes a rugby legacy for Burundi, that we will seek to preserve and build upon for the development of rugby. It is an unforgettable event for the Fédération Burundaise de Rugby (FBR). Joining the global rugby family will enable Burundian rugby players to develop rugby on all levels.

“Although this recognition comes at a time when the world is going through a difficult situation with the Covid-19 pandemic, we are confident that we will overcome these challenges. Achieving this membership required great effort from all of us and it will now enable us to accelerate our growth. The FBR takes this opportunity to express its appreciation to all companies and individuals who committed themselves to bringing this journey to fruition, including various players and coaches of the clubs and their technical and medical staff.

“This membership, far from being an end in itself, is rather the beginning of a challenge and calls on all of us to step up our efforts to make Burundi Rugby shine at the regional and international levels.”

Sofiane Abdelkader Benhassen, President of the Fédération Algérienne de Rugby said: “This long-awaited membership of World Rugby as a full member will provide us with support in four main areas. It will allow us to accelerate the growth of the game in the country. Secondly, Algeria is currently ranked sixth in the African rankings, and will now come into the world rankings. We will from now on be able to participate in World Rugby’s General Assemblies and have a voice that counts.”

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Sports

World Rally Championship Returns To Kenya

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Motor sport enthusiasts will once again next week get a chance of enjoying racing cars in the worlds toughest race.

President Uhuru Kenyatta on Thursday said, it had taken the country years of negotiations and preparations to bring back the World Rally Championship (WRC) event after an 18-year absence.

“My hope and my prayer is that the manner in which we shall conduct ourselves over the next few days will be such that everybody will accept and understand that the Safari Rally is now here and is here to stay, and we’re not likely to lose it,” President Uhuru said.

He however, said, ” it will depend on not only with how you all perform, all the agencies involved will perform but how Kenyans themselves will behave,” the President said.

President Uhuru presented brand new rally cars to young Kenyan drivers Hamza Anwar (22), McRae Kimathi (26) and Jeremy Wahome (22). The three drivers are sponsored for the WRC Safari Rally by Safaricom and Kenya Airways.

According to organisers, 58 drivers have been confirmed for the event, 24 of them foreigners with the most prominent being Frenchman Sébastien Ogier who has claimed seven WRC titles in the last eight seasons.

The event, will take place in the scenic town of Naivasha in Nakuru County. It was restored to the WRC calendar following an intensive campaign led by President Uhuru.

Rose Wachuka, the Chief of Staff at the Ministry of Sports, Culture and Heritage, it is a “moment of pride” for Kenya.

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Sports

Tough Rules Set For Tokyo Olympics

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Tokyo the capital city of Japan is at the moment the most busy destination for athletes as they jet in ahead of the forthcoming Olympics.

According to the itenerary the Olympics open on July 23 followed by the Paralympic on August 24.

Organisers say say 15,400 athletes are expected for the Olympics and Paralympics.

Including athletes, the total number expected for both events, factoring in media, broadcasters, Olympic Family, sponsors and others is about 93,000.

With the deadly Covid-19 pandemic everywhere on the globe, the Tokyo Olympics will take place under strict guidelines aimed at preventing the spread of the virus that has killed 3.82million people globally.

All those entering Japan for the Olympics will be required to follow complex testing rules – before leaving home and after arriving.

They must also agree to have their location monitored by GPS, download several apps, sign a pledge to follow the rules, maintain social distancing, stay off public transportation for the first 14 days and keep organizers informed of your whereabouts.

“We expect everybody to follow the rules. But we also have to be aware there could be infractions,” said Olympic Games Operations Director Pierre Ducrey, also speaking remotely.

“Yes, we expect you to play by the rules, but if you don’t there will be sanctions that could be coming your way.”

Ducrey said the range of punishments could go from a warning, to temporary or permanent expulsion from the Olympics, to withdrawal of accreditation or a fine.

Officials also suggested the Japanese government has the power of deportation, and individual sports federations and national Olympic committees may have their own penalties.

Dubi declined to offer specifics about possible financial penalties. He said that would be determined by a disciplinary commission.

But he said rules would apply “before, during and after” athletes compete.

“It is to reinforce the message, which is: The Playbooks are there to be followed. No transgressions,” Dubi said.

Athletes are also being required to sign waivers, typical of the Olympics. This time an added clause relieves the IOC of responsibly from any fallout from COVID-19.

Dubi suggested athletes or national federations would have insurance coverage for most eventualities.

“Then there are a number of cases for which the risks cannot be covered and this is then the responsibility of the participants,” Dubi said. He said this was standard practice in the sports industry.

The International Olympic Committee says more that 80% of those staying in the Olympic Village will be fully vaccinated.

This contrasts with about 5% of the Japanese population that has been vaccinated in a slow rollout that is just now speeding up.

The Japanese medical community has largely opposed holding these Olympics in Tokyo, arguing the risks are too great.

The government’s main medical adviser Dr. Shigeru Omi has said it’s “abnormal” to hold the Olympics during a pandemic.

Tokyo and other regions of the country remain under a state of emergency that expires on Sunday.

Reports in Japan suggest the government is likely to lift the state of emergency but still impose rules on restaurant hours and other businesses that draw crowds.

Fans from abroad have been banned from Tokyo and organizers say a decision on having any local fans at Olympic venues will be announced by the end of the month.

Japan has officially spent $15.4 billion on organizing the Olympics, although government audits say the figure is much larger.

Jeff Shell, who heads NBCUniversal, said this week these Olympics might be the most profitable ever, despite the pandemic.

NBC, the American rights holder, is the single largest source of IOC income, representing about 40% of total income.

It paid the IOC about $4.4 billion for four Olympics from 2014 through 2020, and $7.75 billion more for six games – 2022 through 2032.

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Special Report

Multimillion-dollar Kigali Golf Course Recklessly Destroyed By Harmful Chemicals

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Members of Kigali Golf Club (KGC) may have to wait longer before they play any game after a reckless contractor marvelled through the most of the golf course and sprayed it with a harmful chemical.

A large portion of the almost US$11 million course has been burnt and it might take months before it sees life again.

It all began with the supplier ignoring the content of the soil sample that needed specific chemicals and fertiliser pillages. Stock worth over US$70,000 was paid for by the Management of KGC.

Then a contractor responsible for maintaining the course, who also happens to be the one who built the course, went ahead and applied the chemicals without testing the possible effects.

Normally, a test would be conducted on a small portion off the main course to assess the effect before it is applied on the whole course. Now, after negligently spraying the chemicals, the whole multimillion-dollar course is in jeopardy.

It doesn’t not only look yellow, it also is unstable. The management of KGC convened on Tuesday June 9, to figure out how to manage the crisis before the situation backfires.

The contractor’s monthly payment worth US$25,000 has already been signed, but sources told Taarifa that it is temporarily being held by senior management.

The course that has been under construction has not hosted any tournament. It was expected to be officially opened during CHOGM that was slated on 22nd this month. It means if CHOGM was still on, the country would have suffered a historic and unforgivable embarrassment.

In May, Infrastructure Minister, Clever Gatete, who oversees this investment, convined a general meeting with all stakeholders, and requested a status report on the whole investment.

Trusted sources told Taarifa that the team he assigned the task could have flouted his directives. As things appear, he might have been duped into believing all is well or no report was made at all, going by the disturbing evidence of mismanagement and misappropriation of resources and funds that Taarifa obtained from trusted sources.

Meanwhile, for months, Taarifa has been conducting an investigation into allegations of mismanagement of this project worth around US$20 million. A series of special reports will be published in a few days ahead.

How the course looked like before it was sprayed with chemicals and unsuitable fertilisers
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