World Rugby Council has approved the application by the Ghana Rugby Association (GRA) as a full member union, bringing the total number to 104 full members and 17 associates.
The GRA became an associate member of World Rugby in April 2004 and is a full member of Rugby Africa, the regional association. The union actively partakes in regional activities and participates in a range of Rugby Africa tournaments. It is recognised by its National Olympic Committee and fulfils World Rugby’s full membership criteria.
The GRA runs a national 15-a-side team and, in total, has 10 teams participating in a domestic 15-a-side league with more than 900 registered adult male players, 82 adult female players and more than 1,000 youth players.
The application was supported by the World Rugby Executive Committee, Rugby Africa and World Rugby’s Rugby Services Manager (Africa).
World Rugby Chairman Bill Beaumont said: “We are delighted to be welcoming Ghana as a full member of World Rugby. These are very exciting times for our sport with unprecedented growth and interest around the world. With today’s announcement, we look forward to a strong, well-organised game in Ghana and we are glad that the union is now ready to join the global rugby family as a full member and continue its work growing the game in Africa.”
Rugby Afrique Chairman Abdelaziz Bougja added: “We are delighted that Ghana has been admitted as a full member of World Rugby. It reflects the fact that rugby is on the rise in Africa, as it is all over the world. Indeed, Africa has seen huge growth of late particularly among the youth and through the Get Into Rugby programme and we are working hard to make sure that upward trend continues.
“Our sport is an inspiration to millions of people around the world and in Africa we are reaching out to attract more players, coaches, referees, administrators, sponsors and fans so that the game’s character-building values can continue to make a difference in people’s lives. I want to congratulate the GRA on this achievement and pledge our ongoing support as rugby continues to develop there.”
As is always the case, this decision is subject to a review being conducted within 24 months in order to confirm that the union has progressed and is worthy of retaining its full member status.