London, 31 January 2005 The IRB today announced that Twickenham in London will host the IRB Rugby Aid Match, 'Helping To Rebuild After The Tsunami', on Saturday 5th March.
Dr Syd Millar, IRB Chairman said, "The IRB is delighted that the international rugby community has come together to support this very worthwhile cause."
"This is highlighted by major Unions agreeing to release players for the match that will be played between a Northern Hemisphere XV and a Southern Hemisphere XV at Twickenham on 5th March."
"The IRB is very grateful to the RFU for providing Twickenham as the venue, the Six Nations Committee for agreeing to the scheduling of the match within the RBS Six Nations Championship and Southern Hemisphere countries involved in the Super 12 tournament for supporting the match. It is also very gratifying that clubs and players from around the world have throw their full support behind the match."
"The proceeds from the match will go to the IRB's humanitarian partner, the United Nations' World Food Program (WFP) to support their vital work in affected areas following the devastating Tsunami on Boxing Day," added Dr Millar.
The efforts of the WFP, who in a normal year feed more than 100 million people affected by emergency or long-term hunger, and other humanitarian agencies have gone a long way to addressing the immediate emergency needs of the affected areas. International donations have raised more than £100 million for the WFP alone. However, the current WFP shortfall in emergency operations requirements is over £14 million.
"The aid efforts are far from completed and WFP expect that their emergency relief requirements (for both food and operations) may extend for another 6 months in the region, "said IRB Chief Executive Mike Miller. "During this period the focus will also move from the supply of emergency food to the rebuilding and rehabilitation of the affected areas. WFP estimates the area will remain a primary focus of their operations for a further three years."
"The international rugby community has already contributed to the relief effort. The initial £100,000 contribution from the IRB to the WFP has been mirrored by donations from Unions, clubs and individuals to a range of humanitarian organisations."
"For example in Australia the NSWRU has organised a charity sevens tournament, the NZRFU is raising funds at the Wellington Sevens and the RFU is donating proceeds from ticket sales for the England versus France Six Nations match. The WRU raised over £1m from a concert it organised at the Millennium Stadium," added Mr Miller.
Planning for the match in terms of logistics, teams, ticketing, etc, is now underway with the formation of an IRB-RFU match project team. Further details about the match will be announced in the coming weeks.
WFP is the world's largest humanitarian agency: we give food aid to an average of 90 million people in more than 80 countries each year, including 56 million hungry children.
WFP Global School Feeding Campaign For just 19 US cents a day, you can help WFP give children in poor countries a healthy meal at school -- a gift of hope for a brighter future.
WFP website: www.wfp.org
IRB website: www.irb.com
For further information please contact:
Mob: +353-(0)- 86 819 6149,