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Societe Generale partners with Rugby India to give the sport a big boost

Societe Generale has forged a partnership with Rugby India to promote the sport in the country. Societe Generale comes on board as the ‘Financial Partner of Rugby India’ and ‘Title Sponsor of the Indian National Rugby Sevens Team’ across all categories – Senior, Junior and Women. This announcement was made at the launch event today attended by Evelyne Collin, Chief Executive and Country Officer, Societe Generale India; Mahesh Mathai, Honorable Secretary General, Rugby India; Aga Hussain – Senior Vice President, Rugby India and Vice President, Asia Rugby.

Societe Generale has also extended financial support to World Rugby’s ‘Get Into Rugby’ (GIR) programme, an initiative for Rugby India to teach rugby at schools and motivate children to get into the sport. Kick-started in India in July 2013, the GIR programme has reached over 30,000 participants (42 per cent of whom are women) by March 2016. The extended support will provide a pathway to further build and groom sports talent from grassroots in schools, districts and states.

Rugby Seven’s inclusion in this year’s Olympics has increased its popularity all over the world. In partnership with Rugby India, Societe Generale will help nurture talent and fuel interest for Rugby in the country from the grassroots, improving the overall playing standard and competitiveness of the sport. This partnership is part of the ‘Citizenship Programme’ developed by Societe Generale, aiming to support underprivileged communities through education and sports in all countries where it operates.

Highlighting Societe Generale’s global and local commitment to promote rugby, Evelyne Collin, Chief Executive and Country Officer – India, said, “Societe Generale’s partnership with Rugby India perfectly reflects what we want to build with our clients and employees: a solid individual and collective commitment, and a desire to move forward together. We share a common vision to train, develop and groom the potential sports talent from the grassroots in the country, especially at locations where resources are limited. Through the ‘Get Into Rugby’ programme, we will reach out to students and help build a talented pool of sportspersons for international events like the Olympics. We are committed to making Rugby accessible to everyone and we hope that together with Rugby India we can help build strong national teams.”

On the partnership with Societe Generale, Rugby India General Manager Nasser Hussain said, “We wish to thank Societe Generale for their generous support of coming onboard as the Title and Financial Sponsor of the Indian National Rugby teams and also for supporting the ‘Get into Rugby’ programme, which is a global initiative to spread awareness of the sport and increase participation in India. I am confident that the shared core values of Societe Generale and Indian Rugby will ensure that this partnership thrives and is beneficial to 100,000 students by 2018 across 21 states.”

Also present on the occasion was Rahul Bose, actor, philanthropist and an avid Rugby player in the Indian National Rugby Team. Commenting on the development, Bose said, “I am thrilled that Societe Generale, an organisation with such a rich global rugby lineage has come on board to support Rugby in India. This is also the first time that a corporate is investing in the ‘Get Into Rugby’ programme, which will look at harnessing talent from the grassroots. With the inclusion of Rugby in the Olympics, the association with Societe Generale has come at right time to give the sport a much needed boost to take it to the next level in India.”

On his long association with the sport, Bose said, “When I was a kid, Rugby was just a way to get your frustration out on field, get lots of attraction, especially from girls, and also, you got money to get dirty legitimately! However, gradually as I began to get to know the sport better, I realised that it was much more complex and a lot more satisfying. The kind of pressure it puts on you, the challenges to your mental strength – that is a great attraction for people who love to be tested, and I always like to be tested. And of course, you learn team spirit, real commitment, aim, and you earn glory.”

Bose felt that it was time television entered this sport. He said, “If television enters, the sponsors will follow. Rugby is like a mixture of soccer and kabaddi, which makes it a great television family sport.”

Societe Generale has a legacy of promoting Rugby globally since 1987. The Group first partnered with Rugby World Cup in 1991 and has since then reiterated its support for every key event. These close and lasting links between Societe Generale and Rugby have naturally led to this partnership with Rugby India.

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