World Rugby launches its 2021-25 strategic plan

World Rugby launches its 2021-25 strategic plan

World Rugby launched ‘A global sport for all – true to its values’, a new strategic plan for the advancement and growth of the sport until 2025.

While recognizing the continuing and significant challenges facing society in the COVID-19 pandemic, the framework looks to the future and marks World Rugby’s long-term plan to support and enhance the sport. It is built on solid foundations, with 9.6 million people playing rugby globally and a supporter base around the world that grew by two-thirds in traditional markets in the last decade to more than 405 million.

The strategy aims to welcome new and existing participants, beyond this pandemic, to unite the rugby family and strengthen the sport seeking to make it as safe, enjoyable, attractive and accessible as possible at all levels. It focuses on four key areas that are vital to the future prosperity of rugby – Competition, Participation, Relationship and Rugby itself. For each, World Rugby has set a series of innovative goals that reflect its ambition and values.


Player welfare and safety transcends everything World Rugby does and remains the number one priority. Throughout the life of this Strategic Plan, World Rugby will conduct open discussion with the rugby family and independent experts to continually advance player safety and well-being as research, science and technology evolve. He will continue to conduct focused research to inform and advance injury prevention and mental well-being, guiding revisions to and testing of the laws of the game to continue to protect players at all levels of the game.

In addition, World Rugby will collaborate with the global rugby family to evolve the sport and ensure that it is engaging and engaging for a new generation of participants. This will include exploring ways to strengthen rugby seven, improve community rugby, and further develop non-contact rugby options for emerging nations, where small formats such as Touch and Tag are attracting new people to rugby. Information recently collected by Nielsen shows that in some countries, two-thirds of new supporters arrive through non-traditional formats.

In developing the Plan, World Rugby wants to leverage depth and experience in the sport and beyond, building on the growing number of players, player representatives and coaches on its Committees. Likewise, its Fan Panel, launched in 2020, and in-depth research will be the basis for informed planning, ensuring that supporters have a relevant place in decision-making.


Building on the successful launch of WXV, the international women’s competition, and the planned support for professional franchises in the South Pacific Islands, the Plan seeks to increase and unify the men’s rugby fifteen and seven calendars to build a more robust and aligned sport. for all. Together with stakeholders, World Rugby will facilitate discussions and seek to develop a more engaging competition structure and a unified approach to international rugby within the July and November windows. With the well-being and safety of the player at the center of any analysis, World Rugby is reviewing its role and portfolio of competencies with the aim of increasing global competitiveness and diversifying revenues for rugby. The groundbreaking goals include the launch of new men’s and women’s competitions for emerging nations by 2022, to increase opportunities for High Performance competitions, as well as renewing the rugby seven ecosystem.


As rugby seeks to look beyond the COVID-19 pandemic, a key goal for early and elite rugby is to bring players, match officials, volunteers and supporters back to the game safely, in all regions of the world. world. To mitigate the impact on grassroots rugby and expand global development, World Rugby will work alongside regions and unions to retain players, with a particular focus on fifteen-year-old rugby, building capacity.

The Plan also reflects World Rugby’s commitment to the success of women’s rugby – the greatest opportunity to grow rugby.

As the 2017-25 Women’s Development Plan nears the halfway point, World Rugby will build on the progress already made in all areas, from leadership to competition, grassroots rugby, commercial, and will extend the successful ‘Try and Stop Us’ to continue increasing the number of women involved in rugby.

World Rugby will also be launching a new Plan to accelerate diversity and inclusion at all levels of rugby in line with the recommendations of the comprehensive governance review.


To promote and increase engagement in a market where competition for public attention is continually growing, World Rugby will facilitate knowledge sharing, as well as generating marketing and communication materials and information, for regional associations and unions. The goal is a global growth by 2025 of 10% in followers and supporters. World Rugby is also committed to continuing to improve the way it works with stakeholders across the rugby family and will introduce a new ‘State of the Union’ survey to gain feedback and better understanding of the needs of its members.

World Rugby’s commercial, television and content strategy will be focused on increasing rugby’s audience around the world, offering engaging and relevant content to supporters, developing new and incremental profits to reinvest in the game. This will include generating interest and relationships between events, ensuring awareness and maximizing the value of the audience.


World Rugby’s values ​​are inherent in everything it does; diversity, inclusion, sustainability and good governance are central to the 2021-25 Strategic Plan. It will see the implementation of measures that build on the transformative reforms made in 2015 and the recommendations of the Independent Governance Working Group, as well as the publication of a Letter of Sustainability.

The World Rugby President Sir Bill Beaumont He said: “The ambitious Strategic Plan 2021-25 recognizes current challenges and outlines a roadmap to support and develop rugby around the world. It will focus and guide us as we work to make the game as entertaining, accessible, engaging and safe as possible, with the well-being and safety of the player being our number one priority. ”

“This is not just a Plan for World Rugby, it is a Plan for the entire rugby family that embraces input from the entire rugby community, from unions and regions, to partners and stakeholders. Everyone has a role to play, be they players, parents, supporters, volunteers, coaches or leaders, and we seek to continue pushing rugby forward together. ”

The Vice President of World Rugby Bernard Laporte He added: “This is an important moment for World Rugby and sport – a clear and aspirational Plan, which will protect and promote the growth of the sport around the world, beyond traditional nations. Now, more than ever, rugby needs unity, vision and leadership and this reflects our ambitions as we seek to support our unions through the most challenging period in the history of sport and society. ”

The World Rugby CEO Alan Gilpin He added: “In these times of doubt and challenge, having a road map for rugby has never been more important. This new Strategic Plan 2021-25 provides the framework for the continued development and expansion of rugby as we seek to continue our journey to become a global sport for all. ”

“As an organization, sport and family, this Plan will guide us to face the three Cs: COVID, calendar and shock, and build the foundations for a safer, stronger and more sustainable sport for all. We will focus on improving the well-being and safety of playing and international competitiveness, increasing participation, growing revenues and deepening the relationship with fans. “

“By presenting this Plan, we will work in full partnership with our unions, regional associations and partners, seeking to utilize existing experience in the rugby family and beyond, as well as listening to our supporters. We will continue to strengthen our governance and decision-making structures and, above all, our unique values, which we know are central to the attractiveness of our sport, at the center of everything we do. ”

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