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SBD Global/November 2, 2012/Leagues and Governing Bodies

Rugby Football Union To Invest $42M Into Sport To Capitalize On 2015 World Cup

The Rugby Football Union will invest £26M ($42M) at the grassroots level to "capitalise on predicted increased interest in the 2015 World Cup in England," according to BBC.com. The RFU will put £25M ($40M) toward 500 clubs and £1M ($1.6M) to help train 6,500 new referees and coaches and recruit 5,000 volunteers by '15. The RFU "expects interest and participation in rugby to grow" leading up to the tournament, which runs from Sept. 18 to Oct. 31. The RFU concedes that following the 2003 World Cup there were "not enough coaches to cope with an upsurge in players." RFU Developing Dir Steve Grainger said, "We didn't plan in advance. The coaches and referees just weren't there. That is absolutely what we are doing now." The £25M investment "will help clubs improve aspects such as kit, equipment, club houses, changing rooms, floodlights and all-weather pitch" (BBC.com, 11/1). In London, Alex Lowe reported that the RFU is "looking to use the 2015 World Cup to spread the game and capture new players and supporters." However, "it is unlikely that England will play any Test matches away from Twickenham" leading up to the tournament. RFU CEO Ian Ritchie said, ''We need to look at methods of engaging with the World Cup around the country over the next three years. We have to think about ways of creating interest and getting people excited. You would never say never, but there is a strong financial reason why England matches are played at Twickenham" (DAILY MAIL, 11/1).
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