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06 Apr 2011

Study uncovers rugby participation growth
BY Pete Hayman

Participation levels have increased 'significantly' in the last four years

Participation levels have increased 'significantly' in the last four years

A new study by the Centre for the International Business of Sport (CIBS) has reported that global rugby union participation is up nearly a fifth since the 2007 World Cup.

Credit card company Mastercard commissioned the research, which found that participation in Africa alone had grown by 33 per cent when compared with figures four years ago.

South America and Europe (22 per cent) have also reported significant increases, as well as Asia - where participation levels have increased by 18 per cent.

The research uncovered three main factors that have contributed towards the growing uptake of rugby union, including Rugby Sevens' inclusion in the Olympics from 2016.

Event hosting strategies connected to International Rugby Board (IRB) legacy programmes and a £153m investment by the governing body between 2009-12 has also been credited.

IRB chair Bernard Lapasset said: "This report, commissioned by MasterCard, underlines that growth is not just continuing, but is accelerating and is as prominent in emerging rugby markets as traditional rugby countries.

"This report also underscores the positive effect of the IRB's investment, development and hosting strategies working in collaboration with our Regional Associations and Member Unions."


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