The government of Odisha signed a three-year agreement with the Indian Rugby Football Union (IRFU) on Tuesday to sponsor the Indian National Rugby teams till 2023. The Odisha government will facilitate high-performance training and conditioning of the players.
The Sponsorship for both Men and Women participating will be broadened to training, conditioning, and incentivizing the Indian national rugby teams.
Indian Rugby Football Union’s president Maneck Unwala and Director Sports, Odisha, R Vineel Krishna signed the agreement on behalf of the two parties and in the presence of Hon’ble Minister of Sports and Youth Services, Odisha, Shri Tusharkanti Behera, Secretary Sports, Shri Vishal K Dev, Mr Naseer Hussain, actor, director and the former Rugby International player, Shri Rahul Bose, Shri U K Mohanty, IRFU Board Member and Head, Odisha Rugby and other senior officials at the Kalinga Stadium.
The Odisha Sports Minister, Tusharkanti Behera, pointed out, “This is a significant partnership for us. In recent years, we have seen a steady rise of Rugby in terms of popularity and participation, particularly the participation of young players due to the commendable efforts of Rugby India.
"And this partnership between Govt. of Odisha and Rugby India will not only help develop the sport of rugby further in Odisha and India, but also support and strengthen the high-performance training of Indian National Rugby Teams," the Minister said.
Mr. Maneck Unwala, the India Rugby President, thanked the government of Odisha for their support. He was honoured to welcome the sponsors of the Rugby teams and was confident that this partnership is beneficial for the rugby athletes of India.
He further added "The Odisha Government is dedicatedly working towards their vision of 'Sports, a priority for Odisha', by developing the state as a hub for major sporting events and creating international standard high-performance training centres in multiple sports for the country"
Rahul Bose has Great Expectations
“This is a historic day for Indian rugby. Thanks to this sponsorship from the Government of Odisha, national rugby players will, for the first time ever, be paid for their services to the Indian rugby teams,” said Bose.
“This marks a first, solid step towards making rugby a professional sport in the country. Today we celebrate the long-standing partnership we have with Odisha as we pave the way for a bright future for our athletes," Rahul said.
In 2018, the Odisha government sponsored the Indian hockey team. They also lent support to Odisha FC in 2019. The state of Odisha is now primed to set a baseline for the Indian Rugby Team.