The introduction of Game On Global follows World Rugby’s recently launched participation plan to accelerate sustainable rugby involvement beyond the COVID-19 pandemic and in line with the transformational strategy to cement rugby as the most progressive sport on player welfare.
Game On Global provides national unions with the ability to implement modified laws at a domestic mass participation level, furthering game experience and safety for participants. Unions can pick and choose from dependent on their context and purpose.
Promoting global consistency in the law variations open to unions at the community level of the game, a menu of 10 law variants are now available to all unions. From January 2022 the Game On principles can be utilised by all World Rugby member Unions at their discretion:
Implementation of the law variations will be centrally monitored, and a global research project will provide an evaluation of the impacts in terms of injury-prevention and overall participation impact.
They were developed by the Community Laws Flexibility Working Group* which was set up in November 2020, following a World Rugby survey in relation to law trials that received more than 1,800 respondents, reflecting World Rugby’s mission to engage with the rugby family.
The working group, which involved member union Community Rugby Directors, World Rugby Council Members, World Rugby Community Rugby Committee Members, World Rugby Regional and Executive Staff, was tasked with developing a set of community laws relevant and attractive to adult community participants which drive enjoyment, accessibility and retain the character of the game.
A number of national models of good practise already in existence, including in England, New Zealand and Wales, who have shared their knowledge and expertise in the development of World Rugby’s global project, which builds on these models and extends to other areas of the game.
World Rugby Chairman Sir Bill Beaumont said: “The community game is the heart and soul of our sport, it is the foundation upon which our house is built and today represents a landmark for rugby around the globe with the introduction of optional community law variations for our national member unions.
“We are constantly listening to, and engaging with the global rugby family at all levels and I am delighted that today’s tangible outcomes were borne out of an initial survey that received more than 1,800 respondents from around the world and builds upon existing models in England, New Zealand and Wales.
"A major benefit of the global nature of the project will be the ability for sharing of best practice across Unions and having one set of guidance that players can recognise no matter where they play in the world.
“The law amendments announced today are a key element of our long term objective to make the game more accessible, more sustainable, safer and available to all across the globe. The passion, commitment and enjoyment that is seen on rugby pitches up and down countries around the globe is what drives us on with the determination to continue to evolve and improve the game we love for all.”
Resources will be available on the World Rugby website to support the implementation phase of Game On Global from January 2022.