Now time to give something back to rugby


May 7, 2014 (ISN) – Outgoing President of the Romanian Olympic and Sports Committee (COSR) Octavian Morariu has claimed his decision to step down from the role is so he can start giving something back to his rugby union now it is part of the Olympic sports programme again.

Morariu announced last month he would be leaving his position as COSR President at the end of May following 10 years in the role.

The 52-year-old was recently appointed to the International Olympic Committee’s (IOC) Commission for Olympic Programmes and Commission for International Relations.

This, allied to his role as President of the European Rugby Association (FIRA-AER), has led Morariu to decide he needs to reduce his workload in order to carry out his duties with both organisations.

He plans to combine those roles with his involvement with the European Olympic Committee (EOC) Executive Committee and vice-president of the EOC European Union Commission.

Speaking to insidethegames, Morariu claimed that, after 10 successful years as the head of the Olympic Movement in Romania, in which time he oversaw the building of new COSR headquarters in Bucharest incorporating an Olympic and sports museum, as well as the opening of a new national training facility, the time was right to hand over the reins to someone else.

“It’s not hard to explain [the decision to step down] and people who know me well understood the decision from the first moment,” Morariu told insidethegames.

“I have been serving with the Romanian Olympic and Sports Committee for ten years now, doing a lot of things with my colleagues.

“Ten years ago we had no headquarters, now we have the Olympic House and we had no training centre but now we have a fantastic facility.

“We also had a record number of sponsors for the Olympic Games in London in 2012.

“So I think the COSR has made great progress in the last ten years.

“I want to be honest towards the Olympic family, to the rugby family and to my own family.

“I just try to be honest with everyone.

“And now obviously I am committed to the IOC.”

Morariu became only the fourth Romanian to be elected as a member of the IOC at the 125th Session in Buenos Aires last year ©Getty Images
Morariu became only the fourth Romanian to be elected as a member of the IOC at the 125th Session in Buenos Aires last year ©Getty Images

Morariu, who won 19 international caps for Romania during the 1980s and represented the Barbarians in 1987, was elected as head of the FIRA-AER last year.

Following a club career that saw him play in his native country before moving to France and becoming club captain at ASPTT Paris, followed by a spell as coach, Morariu entered the world of sports administration and became President of the Romanian Rugby Federation (RRF) in 2001, holding the role until 2003.

Morariu’s claims that now rugby sevens is on Olympic programme for Rio 2016 he says he wants to ensure that it gains the exposure it deserves so that everyone gets to see “how great my sport is”.

“Rugby is really my sport and I feel I now have to give back something to rugby,” said Morariu, who became only the fourth Romanian to be elected as a member of the IOC at last year’s Session in Buenos Aires.

“I have played rugby all my life and played for the national team and the Barbarians and after that I was a coach and then I was President of the Romanian Rugby Federation.

“I want to bring all my experience to the IOC as a former athlete, coach and now in the job I have.

“I want to concentrate on what I can do and now I feel like I want to help rugby and establish it as an Olympic sport and also bring to the Olympic family my sport which I think is great.

“It’s got so many values in common with Olympic values and the Movement will become better in my opinion with this new sport.”

Rugby sevens debut at the Rio 2016 Olympics will show the world "how great the sport is" according to Morariu ©Getty Images
Rugby sevens debut at the Rio 2016 Olympics will show the world “how great the sport is” according to Morariu ©Getty Images

Morariu claimed his career as a player shapes his approach to the administrative side of sport and is confident that his position as the head of rugby in Europe will be a help and not a hindrance to his roles with the IOC.

“There are many people on the IOC who are also President’s of various continental associations or international federations, and I think this experience is very important,” he said. 

“Through our associations and federations we can have better contact between the athletes and the IOC and after all, we work for the athletes.

“We can keep our feet on the ground by working this way.

“I don’t want to lose contact with the athletes; that is very important.

“I very much appreciated when I was an athlete that the people in the federations and the people around us were looking after the athletes.

“That is what an athlete is looking for; for people to support them and help them progress in their sports career.”

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