Hong Kong, China: The new President of the Asian Rugby Football Union (ARFU), Trevor Gregory, believes he is taking over the job at one of the most exciting times for the sport at local, regional and international level in the game’s history.The Hong Kong RFU Chairman, who succeeded Thailand’s Adisek Hemyoo as President at the ARFU AGM in Cambodia last month, highlights the rapid growth of the game in Asia.
“ARFU has trebled its membership in the past decade alone,” he said. “We now have 28 members, 16 of which are full IRB (International Rugby Board) members and six associate IRB members. Four potential new members are also in the process of applying to join ARFU - Bangladesh, Nepal, Tajikistan and Vietnam.
“With 60% of the world’s population and 80% of the world’s youth but less than 6% of the rugby-playing population of the world, Asia is a region that the IRB is working with closely to grow the game at every level from grassroots through to high performance.
“With the inclusion of Rugby Sevens into the next two Olympic Games, in Rio 2016 and Tokyo 2020, together with the first Rugby World Cup to be held in Asia in Japan in 2019, we are committed to leveraging these platforms for further growth and to position ARFU as a leader in the game for both men and women.”
Other appointments at the AGM included Low Teo Ping, President of the Singapore Rugby Union, as ARFU Vice President and Asanga Seneviratne, President of the Sri Lanka Rugby Football Union, as Honorary Secretary General.
Mr Seneviratne is replacing Ross Mitchell, who is stepping down after six years in the post but will be continuing to work for ARFU in his role as Operations Manager.
Mike Haynes, HKRFU Director of Youth, was elected as the new Honorary Treasurer, replacing Dermot Agnew, who has stepped away from ARFU after serving as Honorary Treasurer for 20 years.
Aga Hussain, Vice President of the Indian Rugby Football Union, Qais Abdulla Al Dhalai, Secretary General of the United Arab Emirates Rugby Federation, and Yuichi Ueno, of the Japan Rugby Football Union, were also elected to the ARFU Executive Committee for an initial two-year term.
Further it was decided that, effective from the 2014 ARFU AGM, scheduled to take place in Dubai in December, the Executive Committee will be expanded from 10 to 12 with one of the positions reserved for a female representative.