African rugby teams will have to compete in France to advance to the next World Cup to qualify

African rugby teams will have to compete in France to advance to the next World Cup to qualify ...

In a controversial move last month, Rugby Africa, the continents regional association for rugby, announced that it has selected France as the host of the Rugby African Cup 2022, proving to be able to double as if it were preparing for the African Rugby World Cup in 2020. It said it made the decision after it issued a call for applications to its 39 African member federations and France, which will host the eventual World Cup in 2023.

African rugby fans and other members of the sports fraternity in the continent called out the decision, calling it neocolonialism and saying it would deny local fans the chance to watch their team in action due to difficulties traveling with an African passport that have been worsening by covid-19 restrictions.

Rugby Africa has defended its decision to have France host the tournament, saying its important for the development of African rugby.

A European country was among the candidates to host an african tournament in a country that is considered to be european.

Its unclear why France, a European country, was chosen as one of the African qualifiers.

Rugby Africa stated in a statement that besides receiving very strong bids from African countries, it also received one from France, which it believed offered the most favorable opportunity for the development of African rugby in areas such as exposure, visibility, income generation, and rugby and performance improvement.

Our primary goal here is to keep growing and progressing and taking our rightful place on the international stage, said the association.

Several sporting events have taken place in Africa, including major international sporting tournaments.

Africa has in the past hosted major global sports events like the 2010 soccer world cup and the 1995 Rugby World Cup, both in South Africa. The move by Rugby Africa raises questions about the sports independence in the continent and the organisation s commitment to supporting local rugby and infrastructure. It would result in the continent losing money that could help develop the sport and could derail local fan engagement.

Rugby Africa, on the other hand, stated in its statement that African rugby needs more exposure, and it added that Rugby African and France 2023the two organizers of the 2022 RugbyAfrica Cupwill work together to achieve unprecedented exposure for African football in media and on television globally. Rugby Africa competitions have a limited reach even within Africa, where the market is fragmented and its difficult to reach the continent outside of the immediate sub-region where a tournament is being held, according to it.

There was no doubt that African Members could have hosted an excellent tournament, but Rugby Africa felt that with France 2023 support there was a real chance to leverage the Rugby World Cup organizing committee's resources and expertise to reach new heights and tap into new markets in oblivion that had never been attempted before in African Rugby, the body said.

Africans react to France's decision to host Rugby Africa Cup in Africa.

Kenya was one of the tournaments bidders and has hosted it in the past. Thomas Odundo, the Kenya Rugby Unions acting CEO, expressed his disappointment that the country didnt win the bid.

Rugby Africa made a decision and that was it, he told Quartz.

A petition launched on to reverse the decision has so far garnered 1,276 signatures.

The petition states, "We deserve to be given priority to host our own tournaments (qualifiers) before anyone outside of the continent is considered."

This needs to be revised before the tournament begins, we Africans deserve respect, full emancipation in particularly sports corridors, as this is one way to fully embrace fairness and sportsmanship at its finest, he added.

On social media, people condemned Rugby Africas decision with vehementity.

The Rugby Africa Cup 2022 is scheduled to take place in July. Namibia, Senegal, Uganda, Zimbabwe, Burkina Faso, Algeria, Kenya, and Cte dIvoire will be among the participating countries.

South Africa are the current holders of the Rugby World Cup, winning it in 2019.

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