France likely to play rugby friendly in the UAE

France likely to play rugby friendly in the UAE

James Jose

Filed on May 6, 2017

Qais Abdullah Al Dhalai, UAE Rugby Federation Secretary General and Bernard Laporte, President President, French Rugby Federation (FFR displa a T-shirt during the signing of a MoU at Ramada Jumeirah in Dubai on Saturday.
(Photo by Mohammad Mustafa Khan)

UAERF Secretary General Qais Al Dhalai and FFR President Bernard Laporte signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on Saturday and one of the agreement's primary aims will be to develop both nations players and match officials

 The UAE Rugby Federation (UAERF) and the Federation Francaise de Rugby (FFR) have entered into a partnership aimed at developing players coaches and officials across both the formats - Rugby Sevens and XV.

UAERF Secretary General Qais Al Dhalai and FFR President Bernard Laporte signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on Saturday and one of the agreement's primary aims will be to develop both nations players and match officials through various training camps and tournament opportunities, hosting in both countries, benefiting rugby within the UAE and France.

The partnership could also see UAE backing France's bid to host the 2023 Rugby World Cup. The other nations in the fray are Ireland and South Africa, with Italy withdrawing their bid last year. France had hosted the World Cup in 2007.

"Entering into this partnership, at this stage of UAE Rugby's rapid growth, is very exciting." Qais Al Dhalai said at a press conference on Saturday.

"Together, we (UAERF and FFR) have identified various training camps and tournaments for the benefit of our 7's and XV's players, as well as various training and officiating opportunities for UAERF's match officials throughout the term of this partnership. As the recognised sports-hub in the Middle East we are thrilled to be in a position to utilise many of the UAE's diverse high-class training facilities for these activities, and similarly the well-regarded FFR National Center of Rugby in Marcoussis (France)". "We are looking forward to finalising these opportunities and to working closely with Bernard and his team," he added.

Qais Al Dhalai also added that France could most likely play a friendly against another big team here in 2018-19.

"Now we have 4,000 Emirati players. This partnership will help develop and grow the sport here in the UAE and our trainees and match officials will go to France. And also having a friendly here will attract big crowds," said Qais Al Dhalai.

"France is a big nation and they are biding for the World Cup. Ireland and South Africa too are biding to host the World Cup.  For me, personally, France has the highest chance to host the World Cup. France is building five stadiums which I think is big. My opinion is France would be the ideal hosts," he added.

Meanwhile, Bernard Laporte said that the Middle East was vital to rugby's growth.

"The overall future of our sport will come through its development into new territories. This is crucial if we want to expand its popularity and the number of players to last. This international development has to come through the Middle East," said Bernard Laporte.

"That is why we want to work closely with the UAE Rugby Federation, to actively participate in rugby development in this area of the world by giving UAERF players and officials the possibility to benefit from our human and material means to work and improve their performance," he added.

khaleejtimes