UAE Rugby’s Player Pathway Program is set for an exciting 2016 with HSBC announcing they are to renew their support for a further 3 years, while Land Rover is unveiled as the program’s co-principal partner (in a multi-year agreement).
Today’s unveiling signals a continuation of support from HSBC and the addition of Land Rover to bolster UAE Rugby’s unique all-Emirati grass-roots rugby development program.
Launched in 2012 the UAE Rugby Player Pathway Program (PPP) has enjoyed three successful years of bringing the game of rugby (following the World Rugby’s ‘Get into Rugby’ program), overseen by three regional development officers, to over 30 National schools reaching over 6,800 Emirati children across Abu Dhabi, Al Ain and Dubai.
Through the support of Land Rover and HSBC, UAE Rugby now have the opportunity to continue growing the program in these Emirates while expanding into Northern Emirates where there is a significant opportunity for growth.
Qais Al Dhalai, Secretary General UAE Rugby said, ”We are very grateful to HSBC for the support and commitment they have shown for the past three years and, collectively, we have been rewarded through the efforts of the program by seeing a number of PPP players progress to the next development level – the Shaheen (an all-Emirati 7’s) Development Program – and we are thrilled HSBC have renewed for another three-year term. We are extremely excited that Land Rover have chosen to align with UAE Rugby’s Emirati grass roots program, as their combined support with HSBC allows us to grow the program in existing Emirates and take the program into the Northern Emirates and work toward our 2017 goal of 9,000 Emirati children actively playing rugby at school level, and subsequently increase the number of Emirati players moving through our development levels.”
“I’m also very thankful to the Ministry of Education who has supported the PPP over the last three years and is committed to further enhance the program with additional accesses to new variety of state schools for boys and girls across the UAE,” added Al Dhalai.
Commenting on Land Rover’s partnership with UAE Rugby, Chris Wilde, Brand Director for Jaguar Land Rover MENA said: “Land Rover has been at the heart of rugby, from the grassroots to the elite, for over two decades. We share the same passion, resolve and integrity that sits within the core of the game.
He continued: “Our support of rugby in the region, with the Dubai Rugby 7s will now be further enhanced through our partnership with the UAE Rugby Federation. We are incredibly proud of our local involvement in this magnificent sport and our goal of supporting the growth of the game at grassroots, particularly among the Emirati population, by enhancing the enormous pride in this wonderful nation through our MYLAND initiative.”
David Kotheimer, Deputy Chief Executive Officer & Chief Operating Officer of HSBC Bank Middle East Limited, UAE said: “This is a game-changing opportunity for aspiring young players in the UAE and as a global banking and financial services organisation, we pride ourselves on opening up a world of opportunities for people. Through our sponsorships like the UAE Rugby’s Player Pathway Program, we also create a positive legacy by investing in youth development and grassroots programs.”
“Rugby’s most important season is kicking-off this weekend in Dubai with the world’s top men’s and women’s players taking centre stage in the opening round of the new-look HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series; this is the perfect moment to show our commitment to the long term future of the local game,” he added.
Supporting the in-school program, the UAE Rugby Player Pathway Program conducts up to ten annual PPP rugby festivals, with the highlight being the National Schools tournament with eight Emirati schools competing, which is played on the Saturday of the annual Emirates Airline Dubai Rugby 7’s.