World 12s appointed Rowena Samarasinhe as CEO the same week the organization suffered a heavy blow in its plans to establish a new annual international rugby union tournament.
With nearly 15 years of experience in the sports industry, Samarasinhe comes from the commercial consultancy firm GENSport, where she served as Managing Director for three years.
Samarasinhe is a member of the National Sports Council of Sri Lanka, while also serving on the board of directors of several organizations, including the PSA World Tour of squash, the Chartered Institute for the Management of Sport and Physical Activity and the consulting firm in Equiida leadership.
The World 12s, which is led by former Rugby Football Union (RFU) chief executive Ian Ritchie, who serves as its chairman, was unveiled in early September, positioning itself as the rugby union equivalent of the Premier League. Indian Cricket League (IPL). The organization hopes to generate £ 250million (US $ 344million) over the next five years.
The plan is to attract 192 players from levels one and two to its inaugural tournament in 2022, with a women’s competition set to launch a year later.
However, Samarasinhe’s nomination came as the World 12 received stiff opposition from unions and national competitions.
A spokesperson for World Rugby, the world’s governing body, reportedly said: “The main stakeholders in the game welcome innovative ideas that can improve the sport, and new concepts are always fully taken into account.
“World Rugby has reflected the views of national federations, international and national competitions to the group offering the World 12 and confirmed that stakeholders do not wish to further explore the concept at this time.
“This is a position endorsed by World Rugby’s Executive and Professional Gaming Committee, which includes representatives from the elite of men’s and women’s football.”
In a statement announcing his appointment, Samarasinhe said the World 12 “continue to be in regular contact with World Rugby”.
She added: “The challenges around the international calendar are well known. World 12s is a long-term project, and it will grow over the years. We are optimistic that, even under the restrictions imposed by the current schedule, the World 12 will be able to host a tournament in August 2022 that will feature a number of the game’s top players, who will not be affected by the clashes at this time- the. “
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