Azerbaijan Rugby Federation
Like some other sports games, this athletic game was spreaded in Azerbaijan in the 30s of the last century. In the post-WWII period rugby has lost ground, the all-union and national championships have not been held. Opposers of rugby related that to the fact that the game of rugby had been spread artificially, and therefore they argued against its spread.
Rugby is a combination of sports that require strength. Rugby players are able to compete successfully face-to-face with sprinters or athletes involved in sports that require strength.
This exciting game rich in instantly emerging combinations and fight requiring integrated force was given a new lease of life in the 70s of the past century.
First of all, I formed the team with the assistance of the then chairman of the Baku Sports Committee Abdul Sadikh oglu Sadikhov at the "Dinamo" VSS (Voluntary Sports Society) base, and then at the "Neftchi" VSS base. In these years, we played for our Republic in the first league of the union championship, and despite the fact that we did not hold our own championship, we had adequately represented the Republic in the All-Union competitions!
From 1972 to 1976, city-wide tournaments were annually held in Baku for the Award of the Executive Power of Baku City. 10 teams from all the USSR participated in these tournaments, including those from Krasnoyarsk, Novosibirsk, Baltics and Georgia. Fragments of these games are currently kept in the archives of AzTV sports programs.
The Republican Sports Committee has raised question about the development and popularity of rugby at the Board. However, unfortunately, the matter has not been considered. Later the rugby players have passed to the Union teams and took their rightful place there.
Currently, among 19 honored coaches working in Russia in the field of rugby there is one our compatriot - Eldar Aslanov.
The third revival of rugby in Azerbaijan comes on the end of the 90s, the period when a group of employees of foreign companies involved young people of Baku in this sport.
Approximately since 1999, regular trainings had started under my supervision for those who wanted to play rugby.
Along with foreigners playing rugby at the "Neftchi" sports base leased by foreign companies for their employees, there were 40-50 Azerbaijani players as well.
In 2000, rugby trainings were temporarily suspended as foreign companies refused to pay rent. Only six months later, it became possible to build the team again, and for a few months the players had leased the sports ground at their own expense.
In 2001, the head of one of the foreign companies functioning in Azerbaijan at that time stimulated the development of rugby again. Fortunately, he was also a rugby coach and a great fan of the game. Under his leadership in 2001, the Baku Rugby Club was founded (registered by the Ministry of Justice in 2003). Also in 2001, the Baku Rugby Club (BRC) which at that time consisted of both foreign and Azerbaijani players took part in the Rugby-7 international competitions held in Dubai. That year, BRC won one game and lost two games. It should be noted for comparison that just one year later, BRC participating in this tournament and already consisting of the Azerbaijani citizens won 5 games, and unfortunately, after losing in the last minute finished the tournament in second place. Despite that defeat, successful participation of such the young, not well-known club became a sensation of the tournament.
Since 2001, BRC as the only club representing Azerbaijan has taken part in friendly competitions against Georgian clubs in Baku and Tbilisi. This good tradition has been preserved until now. It should be noted that later the national team of Azerbaijan the majority of which was accounted for BRC club players took part in the Georgian Cup and championship for the purpose of preparation for international competitions.
At the end of 2003, for the first time the question of the establishment of the national team came up. For this purpose, again at the expense of foreign companies a coach from Georgia was invited who led the team until 2006. During that period (2003 - 2006), the team regularly participating in the rugby-15 and rugby-7 friendly competitions strengthened its trainings. The year 2003 will also be remembered for the first Azerbaijan rugby championship.
In subsequent years, the attention to promoting the game of rugby in the Republic has grown. In the framework of the development program the rugby clubs were founded in Sumgayit and Jalilabad, as well as at the present days an AFR member - women's rugby club was founded. Thinking about the future of rugby in the country, we have also established rugby sections at the base of three orphan homes in Baku. Currently the process of registration of a new club located at the base of one of these orphanages is in progress. The foundation of such clubs at the base two other orphanages is planning.
Taking into account learning the rugby from childhood, this game is widely spread among the children of averagely 12-13 years old and more than a hundred those from orphanages. At the same time, the children who are not members of the orphan homes are also attracted. These children are our future and pride.
Herewith to promote this sport discipline, the Rugby-7 tournament gathering teams from Azerbaijan, Georgia, Iran and Russia has been held in Baku for already six sequential years.
In 2004, the Azerbaijan Rugby Federation was founded (registered in 2005). In the same year the unanimously approved application about the election of Azerbaijan a member of the International Amateur Rugby Federation - European Rugby Association - Assotiation Europenee de Rugby was submitted at the General Assembly.
In April 2005, within the framework of the European Championship Azerbaijan conducted two games against Bosnia and Herzegovina. As a result the game held outside the country ended in defeat of our team, but two weeks later in the return meet conducted in Baku our rugby players triumphed over Bosnians, it was of great importance as the first game held inside the country. It should be noted that Bosnia's national team occupied a higher position in the rating table.
Since then, Azerbaijan has regularly participated in the Rugby-15 and Rugby-7 European Championships.
As noted above, the ARF is a member of FIRA-AER from 2005. Today, the question of the election of Azerbaijan a member of the International Rugby Board was raised. In the case of a positive solution Azerbaijan gets the chance to take part in the qualification tournaments of the World Championship.
For several years starting from 2001, great events have been held in our country for the revival and development of this sport discipline. In fact, starting from zero and only having an oval-shaped ball and sand-covered field, our rugby players fighting for the common goal achieved the recognition of Azerbaijan in the world map of rugby. In the last two tournaments the Azerbaijani team was recognized as a team having great potential and being able to fight strong.
In 2005-2006, rugby reached the peak of development in the country.