London, Sept 18, 2013: Growing Rugby participation by more than one million by 2016 and promoting sustainable growth is the aim of a new initiative launched by the International Rugby Board today.
IMPACT will partner with IRB events, including Rugby World Cup 2015 and 2019, Women’s Rugby World Cup 2014 and the IRB Junior World Championship, to deliver participation, education and business programmes aimed at providing emerging IRB Member Unions with the coaching and commercial tools they require to grow the sport in their countries.
At the heart of the programme will be the IRB’s Get Into Rugby initiative, which has proven successful in driving a 50,000 increase in youth participation since its launch earlier this year, and specific programmes with Unions to develop their capacity in areas such as commercial strategies and communications.
IMPACT focuses on six key pillars to enable Unions to attract and support participation growth while growing sustainable business models for the sport.
Integration: Strengthen relationships between key stakeholders, including governments, to ensure lasting benefits for Rugby.
Member Unions: Share knowledge and best-practice from Rugby World Cups to assist Member Unions in developing new commercial partnerships and strengthen Union business models.
Participation: Increase global participation of players, coaches, match officials and volunteers through key projects including Get Into Rugby, IRB Rugby Ready and RWC volunteer programmes.
Awareness: Integrate development and broadcast and digital media strategies to reach out to new territories to maximise global awareness.
Competition: Develop robust programmes to assist Unions with competition infrastructure.
Tools: Providing Member Unions with best-practice tools to grow Rugby in their territory.
Partnered with Rugby World Cup 2015, IMPACT Beyond 2015 will be the flagship of the IMPACT Beyond family and will encompass a suite of programmes in order for Europe to maximise the multiple benefits of hosting Rugby’s showcase event and one of the world’s top three major sports events.
A partnership between the IRB, FIRA-AER and the RFU will complement the RFU’s seven-point legacy programme, ensuring that the benefits of hosting are sustainable and tangible for the whole of Europe. Full details will be announced at the beginning of 2014.
IMPACT Beyond was announced by IRB Chief Executive Brett Gosper in London today: “Rugby is currently enjoying unprecedented interest and participation thanks to the ongoing profile and success of Rugby World Cup and Rugby Sevens’ inclusion in the Olympic Games.”
“The IRB is committed to continued investment in the Game at all levels in order that more men, women and children in more countries are able to access and enjoy the sport and its character-building values.”
“The IMPACT programme for the first time enables our Unions, working in full collaboration with the IRB and its Regional Associations, to implement programmes that will ensure the positive benefits of hosting major IRB events to continue well beyond the event.”
“It is wholly appropriate that the umbrella programme should be launched in association with Rugby World Cup, an event that has been the driving force behind the growth and prosperity of Rugby around the world. England 2015 provides us with a unique opportunity to harness the power of the Rugby World Cup brand for the good of the sport in the host nation, Europe and beyond.