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International Rugby Sevens Series in November

The only international rugby tournament held in Sri Lanka the Asian Rugby Sevens will be conducted here with a new name Carlton Sri Lanka Sevens Series said Tharunyata Hetak Foundation Chairman Namal Rajapaksa at a press briefing held at SLRFU headquarters yesterday.

This he said will be of vital importance for Sri Lanka. It will give an opportunity to bring in foreigners to see the peace achieved by our Security Forces in liberating the country. Earlier teams from other countries when invited was reluctant to play here.

Things have changed dramatically and it is the opportune time to hold this tourney here, which will also help increase tourism and improve the standard of rugby.

He said the tournament was to be taken out of the calendar due to various reasons, but the Interim Committee headed by Lasitha Guneratne after a great effort has been able to win the bid.

Tharunyata Hetak, the organisation which wants to promote peace through sport while giving an equal opportunity for all young sportsmen and women to achieve national and international levels grabbed this chance to organise the tournament along with the Rugby Interim Committee.

He also added that he has used all his resources to get the fullest co-operation from the Presidential Secretariat, Foreign Ministry and the Defence Ministry.

They also plan to get the help of the Tourism Ministry as this could help popularise the country’s image as a fine tourist destination.

He made a fervent appeal to the private sector organisations to provide the maximum support by way of sponsorship for the tournament.

He also added that a schools tournament too will be conducted alongside the international tourney which is scheduled to be played at the Sugathadasa Stadium under lights for the first time.

Lasitha Guneratne explaining the program for the tournament said that 24 school teams will be picked for the tournament after a tournament conducted on a provincial basis.

This will be done to give the outstation schools a chance to enter the fray to play alongside Sri Lanka’s top level schools.

He said we want teams from all parts of the country to compete here. Before this it was only a selected lot of school had the opportunity.

We have decided to do away with this method as the Tharunyata Hetak Foundation is playing its role throughout the country and their involvement here needs great care to be achieved their goal while holding the international tournament with many intentions.

Guneratne noted that some officials were not in favour of holding the tournament and have kept silent without questioning the Asian Rugby Union.

When the Interim Committee came into force we worked tirelessly to win this for our country. In fact the Asian Rugby Football Union questioned whether we could accommodate the full 26 member countries for the tourney to disrupt our plans.

As such the Interim Committee will send invitations to all member countries, said Guneratne. But we are sure having sixteen teams participating, said the Interim Committee Chairman.

Answering a question posed by the media regarding the referees refusal to officiate at rugby matches the Secretary Kiran Atapattu said the Referees Society has demanded a thumping sum of money. In fact the voucher written by the Society is not properly drafted.

This demand cannot be met by the SLRFU. As such the SLRFU is unable to settle the dues. The Interim Committee is not in a position to violate the Sports Law and we have to withhold the payments until a settlement is reached.



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