’Historic day’ as Georgia gains seat on World Rugby Council

Georgian Rugby Union President Gocha Svanidze (L) and Rugby Europe President and former Romania player Octavian Morariu at the Georgia-Romania ENC match earlier this year. Photo from Georgian Rugby Union/Facebook.
Agenda.ge, 12 May 2016 - 15:38, Tbilisi,Georgia

Georgia is being welcomed into the World Rugby Council meaning the country will have a say on the development and future of international rugby.

Yesterday Georgia was invited into the organisation along with Romania and the United States (US).

The addition of Georgia, Romania and the US to the World Rugby Council was regarded as a "historic day” by outgoing World Rugby Chairman Bernard Lapasset.

Representatives of the three countries will now have a seat at the international federation governing aspects of the sport's development.

This is a historic day for World Rugby and a strong reflection of a sport that continues to reach out, grow and thrive within and beyond its traditional markets. We are delighted to be welcoming Georgia, Romania and the USA to Council, three unions who have contributed so much to the game and are making massive strides on and off the field. I know that they will make a strong contribution as we grow the sport together," said Lapasset.

Georgian rugby officials also welcomed the news; Georgian Rugby Union president Gocha Svanidze said this was a "very special and proud day for Georgian rugby" adding other rugby unions could be inspired to follow Georgia for inclusion in the Council.

Svanidze also congratulated Romania and the US for their success of achieving representation too.

The three countries achieved representation in the World Rugby Council after meeting the "good governance criteria" announced by World Rugby last November.

Georgia, Romania and the US will have one representative at the Council, with two votes for each member.

The sport's governing body said accepting new members into the Council was part of its "new governance model". It also said the path towards membership was open to all member rugby unions who wished to "work towards Council representation".

Georgia was invited to hold a seat on the Council on the back of the country's success in developing rugby at all levels.

The Georgian national rugby team's progress in world rankings and its successful appearance at the 2015 Rugby World Cup were complemented by development of new infrastructure for the sport in Georgia in recent years.

The country's recent success and their ninth European Nations Cup title, earned in March this year, saw rugby experts and officials lead calls for Georgia's inclusion in the Six Nations top tournament.

The expanded World Rugby Council structure will begin its duties in November this year.