Fiji, UAE enhance rugby sevens cooperation

Updated: 2013-06-15 14:00

(Xinhua)

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SUVA - Fiji Rugby Union on Saturday signed in Dubai a "ground breaking" memorandum of understanding to open cooperative arrangements to develop rugby in the United Arab Emirates, Fiji's Ministry of Information announced.

Fiji Rugby Union chairman Filimone Waqabaca's signing with UAE Rugby Federation chairman Mohammed Falaknaz was witnessed by the Fijian ambassador to the UAE, Robin Nair, the Ministry of Information said in a statement, adding that the initial focus of Fiji Rugby Union will be to develop the seven's format of the game.

"FRU was very pleased to be involved in the development of rugby in the United Arab Emirates as UAE rugby works towards getting its national sevens team into the IRB's (International Rugby Board) Sevens International Competition and also to assist the development of the rugby in the UAE to international competition standards," Waqabaca said.

Falaknaz said the UAE Federation was excited to take this step forward with Fiji.

"We are especially excited with the opportunity to enhance the development of our seven's players and we thank His Excellency Ambassador Robin Nair for introducing us to the Fiji Rugby Union," said Falaknaz.

According to Fiji's Ministry of Information, the UAE Rugby Association, as it was then called, became operational on  January1 2011 and in June of that year, it was awarded with full membership of the Asian Rugby Football Union. In October 2012, the association was upgraded to federation status and in late November was awarded with full membership of the IRB.

This MOU is the first one that FRU has signed with any national rugby federation and it "promises be a unique arrangement for mutual benefit of the two nations", said the ministry, adding that FRU has invited the UAE Sevens as a "wild card entry" to the Centennial Sevens International Tournament in Fiji in October this year.

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