Morocco to host African rugby summit

The African association of World Rugby, Rugby Africa, is organising the first Rugby Africa Summit to be held on the 27th February to 2nd March at the Adam Park Hotel in Marrakech, Morocco. On the agenda are an executive committee meeting of the association for the continent, training workshops, and 13th General Assembly.

Over 30 presidents from the different African rugby federations will be there, bringing with them many illustrious names from the world of rugby and sport in general, to participate in three days of debates and exchanges and to celebrate African rugby.

Among the anticipated guests are Mustapha Berraf, President of the Association of National Olympic Committees of Africa, Mrs Nawel El Moutawakel of the International Olympic Committee, David Carrigy, Head of Development at World Rugby, Bernard Lapasset, former President of the International Rugby Board (IRB), and Bernard Laporte, President of the French Rugby Federation (FFR).

This gathering is a pivotal moment in the evolution of Rugby Africa, formerly known as the African Rugby Confederation (CAR), as it marks the end of President Abdelaziz Bougja’s term of office after 17 years of service to African rugby. Originally elected president of the CAR at the General Assembly of Yaoundé in 2002, President Bougja was re-elected in 2006, 2010 and 2014.

“In 2002, the CAR had 16 members, today there are 39. In 2018, the various national teams from 24 countries participated in competitions organised by Rugby Africa. The qualifiers for the 2019 World Cup generated nearly 2 million views on social media. Rugby has become very much a mainstream sport and is widely played in Africa. In 2018 alone, we introduced 459,000 young people to the joys of the oval ball. Our sport is the one with the highest growth rate in Africa,” Bougja explained.

“My successor will inherit a stable and professional organisational structure. We have set out clearly defined plans and priorities. One of them is to promote the participation of women in African rugby. To this end, we propose to nominate a minimum of two women to the Executive Committee, but I hope we will have more. I am looking forward to this summit, which will be a real celebration of African rugby, Africa, its culture and its diversity. I am also delighted to be able to hand over the torch in my native country, Morocco,” the President of Rugby Africa declared.

The General Assembly will be an opportunity to renew several trusty partnerships, reinforcing the links between Rugby Africa and the South African Rugby Federation (SARU) and the French Rugby Federation (FFR). It will conclude with the presentation of awards to the federations and the election of the new executive bureau of Rugby Africa.

“Rugby is now the fastest growing sport in Africa. The Rugby Africa Summit will be an opportunity to bring together all of the African rugby players, federations, sponsors, suppliers as well as the various partners to celebrate the sensational development of rugby in Africa and the unparalleled sponsorship opportunities offered by African rugby. This Summit will also provide an opportunity for the extended family of African rugby to thank Abdelaziz Bougja who dedicated 17 years of his life to the development of rugby in Africa,” said Nicolas Pompigne-Mognard, Founder and President of the APO Group, Rugby Africa’s main official sponsor.

African Press Organisation