World Deaf Rugby 7’s is scheduled to take place in Sydney from Sunday 22 April through to Thursday 26 April, culminating in a full Test Match on Friday 27 April between Australia Deaf Rugby Union and Wales Deaf Rugby Union.
This is also the inaugural year for the women's deaf rugby tournament.
Head Australian coach, Mr David Hoffmann, said that the withdrawal of the sponsor has created uncertainty about the event going ahead due to the $20,000 shortfall in funding.
“We are appealing to the public to get behind this major event for the international deaf community to help us ensure the tournament can go ahead,” said Mr Hoffmann.
According to Mr Hoffmann, rugby union helps both children and adults feel involved in the community and give an opportunity for people with a hearing impairment to socialise both locally from Australia as well as meeting new people from other countries.
“Sport not only helps people feel part of something; it helps with self-esteem and confidence and this tournament provide opportunities both culturally and socially that people with a hearing impairment wouldn’t otherwise get,” said Mr Hoffmann.
The sponsorship was helping to cover the cost of running the tournament as no other financial assistance has been provided both from the private or the public sector.
“For example we have asked for some in-kind sponsorship from the NSW Government, Department of Transport for free bus transport for the players however this was declined, with no written reason provided,” said Mr Hoffmann.
All players are funding their own fees, rugby kit, accommodation and travel costs.
“We know a large number of men and women have expressed interest in participating however cannot afford to take time off work or afford it because they are either in low paying jobs or are unemployed,” said Mr Hoffmann.
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