Sunday Times (Sri Lanka)
Short term goal is to win the league - CR President
CR&FC’s immediate goal is to win the league title, declared former Sri Lanka three quarter Ted Hiran Muttiah after being elected as president of the Longden Place club at its annual general meeting held recently.
“In regards to the future of CR rugby the aspiration is to win the league as a short term goal. In the longer term, we want to position the ‘ Red Shirts’ as a club of choice for young and emerging school rugby talent. We want to draw on best practices from around the world to structure our rugby programme to integrate key aspects of player’s welfare and life beyond rugby,” said the former Royal captain.
He takes over at a time when the sport faces many challenges because of the COVID- 19 pandemic.
“COVID-19 has forced a new normal across all facets of the community. Sport is no exception. Aside of the on ground playing considerations, the whole concept of professional rugby is now very much in question. Certainly in the Sri Lankan context it is no longer sustainable,” said Muttiah.
“Of course the revenues of rugby clubs are heavily reliant on the traditional business model based on the sale of food and beverages and sponsorships - ground hoardings and playing kit advertisements. In the current business climate, securing sports related sponsorships will remain exceptionally tough. The uncertain rugby season, impact of social distancing on club food and beverages are already hurting the current operating model. So, in this context providing a secure income for professional rugby players is already requiring a re- think of club rugby into the future. Perhaps a hybrid of semi-professionalism may become the order of the day,” said Muttiah who represented Sri Lanka at the 9th Rugby Asiad in Fukuoka, Japan, following strong performances with CR in the inaugural Premadasa trophy tournament as a winger scoring four tries in two games. This earned him a selection in the President XV teams in the wing against the visiting Paris University and Westminster Rugby Football Club team in the lead up to the Asiad.
On the future of the sport in the country, he said: “It is understood that Sri Lanka Rugby (SLR) is considering a restructure of the provincial system. The proposal has merit although how the new structure will improve the deliverables of developing the sport and elevating Sri Lanka rugby to the top tier in Asia needs transparency.”