IRB boosts Christchurch coffers
Rugby fans and teams raised NZ$400,000 ($314,000) during the World Cup to help rebuild sports facilities in the earthquake-stricken New Zealand city of Christchurch, organisers announced Thursday.
The plight of New Zealand's second-largest city, which lost the hosting rights to seven World Cup matches last September and October, became the focal point of fund-raising throughout the tournament.
Much of city has been destroyed by a series of powerful earthquakes over the past 15 months with the most deadly tremor on February 22 claiming 181 lives.
Donations from teams and fans during the World Cup to assist with the restoration of rugby infrastructure in Christchurch raised NZ$400,000, the International Rugby Board said.
"The response of the global rugby family in uniting as one behind our friends in Christchurch has been tremendous," IRB chairman Bernard Lapasset said in a statement.
"Everyone involved wanted to send a clear message to the people of Christchurch that they were still at the heart of World Cup 2011 ... and the appeal was one way of letting them know that rugby worldwide cares.
"On behalf of the International Rugby Board and World Cup Limited I would like to thank everyone who has supported and promoted the Appeal and each and every fan who has contributed to a cause that will significantly assist the Rugby community in Christchurch."
The NZ$400,000 donation includes a significant contribution from RWCL and is in addition to the strong support demonstrated by IRB Member Unions and RWC 2011 participating teams throughout 2011.
Teams, including Australia, England, France, Scotland and New Zealand all demonstrated their support for the Appeal through separate donations or visits to Christchurch during World Cup 2011. All involved with the tournament wanted to ensure the people of Christchurch were central to the biggest event ever hosted in New Zealand.
With Rugby very much at the heart of the community in the city, all donations will be passed on to the Canterbury Rugby Earthquake Charitable Trust, administered by the Canterbury Rugby Football Union, to support the work of the Trust in targeting communities that have been hit the hardest.
A number of clubs, schools and communities continue to need assistance with the repair and development of Rugby grounds and facilities, while players and clubs continue to face financial hardship as a result of the earthquakes.
Dave Rhodes, Canterbury Rugby Football Union Chairman and member of the Canterbury Rugby Relief Charitable Trust, said: "We are absolutely delighted with the announcement of the donation. It is a tremendous boost to the Trust as it works to restore the capacity of the Rugby community in Canterbury - particularly on the east side of Christchurch where so much damage has occurred and so many lives have been disrupted.”
"This donation gives the Trust a real opportunity to help deliver Rugby to those parts of our community that are struggling the most - we are very, very grateful to RWCL and the generosity of the global Rugby family.”
Mayor of Christchurch, Bob Parker, added: "In Christchurch we were heartbroken to lose our World Cup matches after the February earthquake, but the tournament reached out to us and we were able to enjoy and feel part of what was the biggest sporting event ever hosted in our country.”
"We are hugely appreciative of this donation particularly given the current situation in our city. I would like to express our gratitude to RWCL, the International Rugby Board and the global Rugby family for their support. Their generosity will greatly assist the rebuilding of the Rugby community in Christchurch.”