Increase funding for Trinidad & Tobago National Rugby Team
Rugby Union and 7’s is quickly becoming part of pop culture. Since the 2009 announcement that rugby would be admitted into the Summer Olympics in Rio 2016, the sport has experienced increased television exposure particularly in North America. In 2011, more than 5.4 million viewers tuned in to watch the USA Sevens on NBC, helping increase awareness for rugby across the United States, Canada and The Caribbean Islands.
There is no sport in Trinidad & Tobago that has bigger potential for growth and improvement than rugby Union and 7’s. The latter is the fastest growing sport in the world and with the introduction of it in the Commonwealth Games, Olympics and the very successful and entertaining HSBC Sevens Series. Trinidad & Tobago needs a profile national team programme to succeed.
There’s this old saying that “Rome wasn't built in a day”. Some sports or Individual’s have been given, 2 or 3 cycles of funding before they achieved a medal, and many don’t receive funding until they’ve actually won a competition.
Behind the United States of America, Canada and Mexico we have one of the highest participation in North America currently standing at 1,412 according to the Rugby America North website https://rugbyamericasnorth.com/team/trinidad-tobago/. Last year we hosted the RAN 7’s 2016 and narrowly lost to Guyana in the semi-Finals 5-0 and Jamaica for the 3rd place resulting in missing out on the opportunity to Play in the Hong Kong 7’s this year. The Under 19’s has grown in numbers each year and they never cease to disappoint in the Mens U-19’s Championship.
We’re calling on the Trinidad and Tobago Government, The Trinidad & Tobago Rugby Football Union, Trinidad & Tobago Olympic Committee and The Sports Company of Trinidad & Tobago to consider Increasing the Funding for the Men and Women’s National Team. Sport England promised to provide £493 Million in GRASSROOTS funding alone between 2013 and 2017, these are the Nations that we want to be competing against at the highest level.
If we’re to only get half the support, funding and television coverage of the National Football team we would be so much more successful than we are now.
By Omari Stafford-Davies