The International Rugby Board (IRB), the world governing and law making body for the sport of rugby, began its relationship with WFP in 2003 at the Rugby World Cup in Australia by providing an in-stadium advertising campaign valued at US$6.5 million. In response to the tsunami emergency, IRB provided a cash donation and held a charity rugby match that raised US$3.3 million for WFP’s recovery operations in the affected regions.
In February 2005, the match, titled “Rugby Aid: Rebuilding After the Tsunami,” saw international rugby stars compete in two teams made up of northern and southern hemisphere players.
The event, which was broadcast live on television around the world, had been organised by the International Rugby Board. All funds raised by the match were donated to the World Food Programme and used for long term relief and rehabilitation programmes across Asia.
“The needs are immense,” said the former Australia rugby captain and World Food Programme humanitarian partner, Nick Farr-Jones, “Humanitarian agencies like the World Food Programme have done an incredible job meeting the emergency needs of the hundreds of thousands of survivors of the tsunami disaster, but we must not forget the long term obligation to help these people rebuild the towns and villages that were once their homes. They have to be given the means to sustain their own livelihoods again.”