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.”

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