The Georgia Rugby Union expressed concern on Friday in its statement over the “systematic and deliberate” attempts of spreading “discrediting lies” about the Union and damaging its reputation.
The statement followed the story aired on the opposition-minded TV Pirveli alleging that the Georgia Rugby Union had been “in cooperation with Russian oligarchs” and had hosted one of them in the hotel [where the Georgian national team was staying], who arrived by helicopter during the Georgia-Italy “historic match”. The Union rejected it as a “provocation” and “fabricated story” which failed as the passengers of the helicopter denied it.
The “deliberate process of discrediting” of the Union has also included “systematic bullying” of the members of the national and youth rugby teams on social media platforms, as well as creating a petition to remove Davit Kacharava, a famous veteran rugby player and the chair of the rugby union board, from the body, “insulting” and accusing him of “political favouritism” towards Russia, [after Kacharava, a Parliament member, supported the controversial bill on transparency of foreign influence, which was widely condemned as a “Russian law” by its critics] the Rugby Union said.
This process began after Georgian rugby achieved historic victories on the world stage: for the first time it was able to defeat the member states of the Six Nations, as a result of the reforms carried out in the rugby union and the current “right course”, it received the highest evaluation from the President of the World Rugby, it has been repeatedly in the focus of international media, and after all, the Georgian flag “reached a new height”, the Union noted.
In its statement, the Union said the “rapid rise” of Georgian rugby was a result of the charitable support of the Union’s administration, the Georgian Government and the country’s former Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili, which caused the “irritation and aggression” of the opposition groups.
Georgia Rugby called on “all groups with a party agenda” to stop attacking rugby players for their “personal, political-mercantile” reasons.