Rugby-Foundation aims to help players after retiring from the sport


  • Rugby
  • Thursday, 30 May 2024

Rugby Union - Summer Series - England Training - Pennyhill Park, Bagshot, Britain - May 28, 2024 England's Henry Slade during training Action Images via Reuters/Matthew Childs/ File Photo

LONDON (Reuters) - A group of current and former rugby players from around the world launched the Global Rugby Players Foundation on Thursday, a charity aimed at helping players have healthy and fulfilling lives when they leave the sport.

Famous players, including Dan Carter, Jonny Wilkinson, Richie McCaw and Siya Kolisi, as well as Rachael Burford from the women's game, supported by World Rugby and the International Rugby Players (Association), established the independent organisation, whose board of trustees will be chaired by former Australia captain George Gregan.

The support of the foundation will be delivered across five main pillars - grant funding, access to health and

wellbeing programmes, career and business coaching, community support among members, and partnership programmes, where the foundation will work with organisations and sponsors to provide opportunities for former players.

"Some players move onto new lives after rugby very successfully but what a lot of people don’t realise is that a lot of players face many challenges when they step away from playing the game," said the Foundation's CEO Sara Heath.

"Rugby has a responsibility to these players and the Global Rugby Players Foundation seeks to reframe the concept of life

after rugby by looking at it as a positive challenge and an opportunity to forge something new and exciting."

International Rugby Players CEO Omar Hassanein said: "Over recent years, former players have highlighted the need for further support as they finish their playing careers. Some of the most common challenges include a loss of identity and

changes to a person’s sense of purpose and direction."

World Rugby CEO Alan Gilpin also welcomed the organisation, which will kick off with pilot programmes in Ireland, South Africa, New Zealand and the Pacific Islands.

"When the players came to us with their idea, an independent

charity to support players with their life beyond the game, we were only too happy to do everything we could to support them," he said.

"I look forward to watching it go from strength to strength in the coming months and years and World Rugby will continue to play our part in supporting the wellbeing of our current and former players."

(Reporting by Mitch Phillips, editing by Ed Osmond)

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