News from about the New Pakistan Rugby League came out this week. They will get their first game against a BARLA select in Dubai later this month.
Pakistan Rugby League will play their first ever game against a British Amateur Rugby League select team in Dubai at the World Famous Sport City stadium, 29th November.
Rugby League has established a firm foundation in Pakistan after almost of decade of hard work in collaboration with a number of partners including the British Asian Rugby Association (BARA), Leeds Rugby Foundation (LRF), British Amateur Rugby League Association (BARLA), Rugby Football League (RFL) and Leeds Metropolitan University.
Founded in 1992, The Islamabad rugby club, which host the only purpose built rugby pitch in Pakistan, have been organising rugby league coaching sessions and competitions for local schools, men & women for the past six years in partnership with Ikram Butt, head of BARA.
Kashif Khwaja, one of the founding members of the Islamabad rugby club, took up the invitation by Ikram, to continue his studies in the UK and while doing so, further develop his knowledge & skills in rugby league. Kashif grasped the opportunity and not only gained his Masters in Business Studies at Leeds Metropolitan University but also gained valuable rugby league experience. Kashif was awarded a level 1 rugby league certificate and made his debut for BARA at rugby league.
Kashif, who will captain the pioneering Pakistan Rugby League team, commented “We here in Pakistan are very grateful to Ikram for laying the foundations of rugby league development in Pakistan and is one of our founding members.
“We are also indebted to a number of key individuals including Kevin Rudd, former European Rugby League Federation Executive who came out to Pakistan and helped us immensely. Spen Alison, Chairman, of the British Amateur Rugby League Association also visited Pakistan and on our behalf met with senior government officials. And a special mention to Emma Rosewarne, Operation Director at the Rugby Football League, who I had the pleasure of meeting during my visit to the UK has and continues to provide valuable guidance and inspiration to us throughout the years.”
Ikram, stated, “We are delighted that Mick Turner, BARLA International Executive Manager, has accepted our invitation to take part in this historic occasion.
“Mick shares our same vision of developing our great game throughout South Asia and has gone out of his way to make this event happen. At this moment in time the political situation in Pakistan doesn’t allow us to host the game over there, however, playing such a game in Dubai at the Sport City stadium is a wonderful opportunity to expand and promote the game of rugby league to a wider audience.
“We are already in discussion with BARLA about hosting them in Pakistan next year. Having already witnessed rugby league tournaments and festivals at the Islamabad club, I have no doubts that they will be able to provide and wonderful and unique experience for any rugby playing nation visiting the country.”
Mick Turner, added, “It’s a great opportunity for our lads and chance of an International fixture in a fantastic venue and another first for BARLA. We are looking forward to the challenge. At the end of the day the big winner will be Rugby League.”
Hasan Pooya, Chairman of the Pakistan Rugby League, commented “The event in Dubai is the culmination of a lot of hard work behind the scenes by various partners over the years. Our aim is to establish rugby league in Pakistan for the long term and we are delighted that BARLA have provided us a platform to do so.”
Ikram, the founder of BARA, manages Connecting Communities, Leeds Rugby Foundation’s biggest project to date, and was recently awarded a Doctorate in Sport Science by Leeds Metropolitan University for his pioneering sport development initiatives within the UK and abroad.
The first ever Pakistan Rugby League kit, specially designed by Bradford-based sport wear manufacturers, Samsan Sports, was launched this afternoon at the Headingley Carnegie stadium.
A predominately white kit with shades of green around the sides, it bears across the front the brand logo ‘The Pakistan Recovery Fund,’ whose patron is HRH Prince of Wales. The fund was set up in response to the ongoing humanitarian effort still required in Pakistan in wake of the 2010 floods.
The Prince of Wales’s Pakistan Recovery Fund is convened by The British Asian Trust and managed on behalf of the Prince of Wales by Knighton White, providers of philanthropic campaigning around the world. Both of their logos are on the right shoulder of the jerseys.
Gavin-Peake Jones, Managing Partner at Knighton White, commented, “We are delighted that the Pakistan Rugby League team is supporting the fund by displaying the logo on their team jerseys. Ikram Butt and the British Asian Rugby Association have already been pivotal in raising vital funds for the campaign. The devastation caused by the floods in Pakistan is the worst in Pakistan’s history.”
He continued, “In a country already gripped with socio-economic problems, the plight of the Pakistani people has worsened as the devastation has destroyed 1.7 million homes and affected nearly 20 million people. Basic necessities such as food, clothing and shelter are in short supply. In some areas, almost a quarter of children under five are malnourished. Chronic poverty, disease, and displacement threaten the region.”
“With millions of acres of land ravaged, livestock dead and infrastructure ruined, there is a pressing humanitarian need to support the long-term recovery of the country and to respond to the needs of individuals, families and communities. The situation is grave and the need for action is urgent. The Pakistan floods are a massive humanitarian issue and an urgent one.”
The Leeds Rugby Foundation and Leeds Metropolitan University have played a significant role in supporting the fund raising efforts for the Pakistan Recovery Fund and their logos are attached to the left shoulder of the kit.
Paul Rowson, Chairman of the LRF added, “We are really pleased to be able to support the Pakistan Recovery Fund and the Pakistan Rugby League team. The formation of the side will provide much needed positive role models for children and young people to aspire to in Pakistan and within our local communities in Leeds and its surrounding areas.”
Pakistan will take on a British Amateur Rugby League select team (BARLA) in Dubai at the World Famous Sport City stadium on the 29th November, 4.30pm Kick Off.
Leeds Rugby Foundation’s Connecting Communities Manager Ikram Butt – one of the founding members of the Pakistan Rugby League team – said, “This would not have been possible without the tremendous support of a number of key partners. The event in Dubai provides us with a platform to further develop rugby league and at the same time remind people of the continued necessity to assist in the ongoing recovery efforts in Pakistan.”
The founder of BARA (British Asian Rugby Association), Ikram was recently awarded a Doctorate in Sport Science by Leeds Metropolitan University for his pioneering sport development initiatives within the UK and abroad.
Chairman of the British Amateur Rugby League Association, Spen Allison added, “We are delighted to be associated to such a worthy cause.”
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