The Vision for Rugby; the mission for the future
By Vimal Perera
A vision, in an organizational context, in simple terms is what dream you have to offer the public. Arising out of this is the mission. Ask of the vision for rugby and you may be told to see an optometrist. What mission does it serve: "the few who are within?"

Is this a fair comment to make? Why is it that people come to a conclusion of this nature? This theory is based on the perception that people who hold office are biased to their affiliation if they have had or have.

The rugby fraternity being small it is possible that people involved in administration as well as match officials will have other interest as the numbers are limited to go around. The incorrect notions that lead to this misconception need to be corrected to move forward.

If you consider the present situation The President of the SLRFU has risen above the thinking of the average individual. Though in the past he has had close affiliation to CR, in considering the decision at hand, he has come into view above the narrow confines of his club but acted in the larger interest. The decision which I presume is the thinking of the majority members of the council. Whether the decision is right or wrong is another issue. Similarly one could consider the Secretary of the Referees society in the issue of referee assault has stood by the referee even if it was not in favor of his club. Then we can have hope for the future as we go forward. There are hiccups at every level, whether one running a society or a conglomerate.

It is here that the constituent parts of the body rugby has to work together to achieve synergy. Sri Lanka ranked 56th in the world rugby football ranking have only Thailand, Malaysia and India below us in this region.

How long we remain here will depend on how we perform in the Rugby Asiad due to be played in October 2004 in Hong Kong. True we beat Thailand; if we hope to remain there we have to run twice as fast, to climb further we may have to run faster. We are also to compete in the Asian Region World Cup Qualifying "sevens" to be played in September.

In the current scenario of disorganization and with the tournament in disarray will we have time to look at what has to be done? Prospective players having no rugby to play will be in the cold when it comes to representing Sri Lanka.

In the interest of the larger part of the game there is a need to be strategic: to compromise and arrive at feasible solutions. If as assumed by many there is chaos at the top there seem to be confusion with the composition of what makes the rugby relationship in Sri Lanka.

As the Rugby saga goes on as reported in the Sunday Times of 15th August 2004 Quoted under what the CH & FC said is a statement of Rizly Iiyas who I presume was speaking on behalf of the CH . Says Ilyas " we were surprised to see Nizam Jamaldeen not there to blow the most important second round game."

If he was the spokesman for CH he should have been aware of a letter written by the Manager Rugby of CH & FC. If the action of the Club has even remotely influenced the referees society in reducing the possibility of its match appointments there is no need to exclaim surprise.

As contributory factors to erosion of discipline continue, it may be prudent to refer to the IRB code of conduct if we are to reduce the damage brought on. The Code requires that "All Unions, Associations Rugby Bodies Clubs and Persons

Must ensure that the game is played and conducted in with discipline and sporting behavior and acknowledges that it is not sufficient to rely solely on the match officials to maintain those principles:

Shall co- operate in ensuring that spirit of the laws of the game are upheld and refrain from selecting of players guilty of foul play
Shall not repeatedly breach the laws of the game.

Shall accept and observe the authority of the referee, touch judges, Match Officials and other disciplinary bodies. Therefore there is an urgent need for all constituents to act remembering "the game must go on" which seems the cliché quotation.

As the game is moving towards monetary reward, with paid coaches , players and clubs expending sizable amounts there is a need for a structure that promotes the conducting of a sport in today's semi professional environment This needs the clear identification of objectives and goals which will lead to a policy and procedures. This in place will help to look at the larger picture and the expectation than the affirmation t of judgment without specific guidelines and or norms which are known to all concerned.

If these are in place there is no doubt we will progress to climb above the 56th position, we are, in than hair-splitting over, commas and full stops which are taking time.

If not India who have a fair backing from the international authorities and Pakistan which are taking to rugby will step over us. With the vast numbers of a potential rugby market, India and Pakistan could offer the International Body, will always be attractive for funding development unless Sri Lanka can offer exciting prospects on the paddock.

Of course all this might be taken as theory .Yet the world and that of sport has developed over time through knowledge gained from success, experience and management culture of others, than being ostrich like. Edgar Rice Burroughs who wrote so many Books on Tarzan set in the background of Africa has never visited Africa. If he did wait till he practically experienced, the world may never have known Tarzan.

The views expressed here are that of the Writer and are not the view of the Sri Lanka Society of Rugby Football Referees.


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