11 April 2011
Secretary-General
SG/SM/13504

Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Rugby Promotes Teamwork; in Difficult Times, Offers ‘Chance for Joy and Fun’,


Secretary-General Tells Ceremony Kicking Off Road to 2011 Rugby World Cup


Following are UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s remarks to the ceremony kicking off the “Road to the 2011 Rugby World Cup”, in New York, today, 11 April:


I am really pleased that you have chosen the United Nations to launch the road to the 2011 Rugby World Cup.


There are more similarities between rugby and diplomacy than you might realize.  You lose teeth.  We lose face.  Your scrums confuse anyone who doesn’t know the game.  Just like our debates.  For you, a goal is a try.  At the UN, we try for a goal, like the Millennium Development Goals.


I am especially glad that I had the chance to hold the Web Ellis Cup!  Thank you very much.


I love to watch rugby, but the truth is, I do not play it too well.  I have never been much of a loosehead prop, or a tighthead prop, and I have definitely never been a hooker!


I may not be much of a player, but I am a huge fan of the International Rugby Board (IRB).  The IRB has been working with the United Nations World Food Programme to help address world hunger.  For seven years, through the Tackle Hunger programme, you have raised awareness and funds that make a meaningful difference in people’s lives.


Rugby is a popular sport that promotes health, teamwork and friendship.  In these difficult times, when people are struggling with poverty, conflict, sometimes both, rugby can offer a chance for joy and fun.


That is why I am so happy that you are launching the road to the 2011 Rugby World Cup here at the United Nations.  May the best team win!


I see many ambassadors of potentially competing games here.  I’ll be very neutral.


No matter who gets the Cup, I am confident that this partnership between the IRB and the United Nations will score a victory for the world’s people.


Thank you very much and all the best to you!


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For information media • not an official record