Changes to Rugby in Lebanon 2021
Lebanon Rugby has voted in a new board and has started planning for a return to rugby in 2021. However, one rugby club has folded – reducing the number of local clubs competing in the domestic league in the country.
Lebanon Rugby Board 2021
Lebanon Rugby AGM & Elections were held in 2020 and Samir Dbouk was elected as the new Lebanon Rugby Chairman.
- Chairman: Samir Dbouk
- Vice-Chairman: Ghassan Hajjar
- Treasurer: Eagle Zreik
- General Secretary: Abdallah Jammal
- Member: Raymond Asfour
- Member: Elias El Khoury
- Member: Lara Fadel Zalloum
The rugby union posted late in 2020 that the first meeting of the new Lebanon Rugby Board was held at the Union’s headquarters in Beirut. The meeting was also attended by Ghassan Hajjar, Abdullah Jammal, Eagle Zreik, Elias El Khoury, Raymond Asfour, and Lara Fadel Zalloum.
The Board held discussions around the return to rugby in 2021 adding that there continuous challenges of Covid-19 on competitive sports in Lebanon.
Former Australian national men’s rugby union team coach, Michael Cheika announced in 2020 that he would be switching codes to take charge of the Lebanon rugby league team for the World Cup in 2021. Cheika coached the Wallabies at two union World Cups, in 2015 and 2019
It would make sense for the Lebanon Rugby union to, if possible, try and use his services in some capacity if Cheika will spend time in the country in 2021.
Rugby Clubs in Lebanon
However, in the first week of January 2021, the Jamhour Rugby Club announced it was closing down.
They posted online: “After much deliberation, based upon the current political, economic and social situation in Lebanon but more particularly within Lebanese Rugby, a decision has been made by the administrators of the Jounieh Rugby Football Club to withdraw from the Lebanese Rugby Championship, and the Lebanese Rugby Federation as a whole, and to cease operations as a club effective immediately.”
The club was formed in 2013 and hosted the Asia Rugby Championships at its home stadium, Fouad Shehab Stadium, Jounieh in 2015 and 2018 respectively.
The announcement did not specify what its issues were with Lebanese Rugby but the timing so close to the Board announcements can not be coincidental.
Lebanon Rugby Disaster Fund
In 2020 Lebanon Rugby set up a Disaster Fund appealing for the wider rugby community to assist after the tragic explosion which killed so many in Beirut.
A Gofundme page raised £14,833 and the monies were split between the Beit el Baraka and Lebanese Red Cross organisations.