The Dubai Wasps have been forced to pull out of domestic rugby as they cannot keep up with the spiralling costs of the team.
After the loss of one of the club’s main sponsors, the costs have led to the Dubai Wasps withdrawing completely. Though, the club will still continue in a social capacity and it is hoped they will still enter the Eden Park Sevens and Sharjah 10s competitions.
One of the Dubai Wasps’ co-chairmen Laurence Parker stated that the cost of playing rugby seems to be increasing across the board. He went on to say that the club didn’t have enough players to fulfil obligations and therefore they could not keep the club running, and that some of the team members had to put money in last year to help fund the club. Parker explained that instead of being a club running on sponsorship, it became a case of the players needing to pay a significant amount more than just their subs to ensure the club could keep going. After two years of struggling, Parker explained that the Dubai Wasps were not able to compete with larger clubs.
If any of the Dubai Wasps players wish to continue playing regular rugby, they are able to join other clubs. The UAE Rugby Federation will now need to rework their competition structure.
The Future of Dubai Wasps and Rugby in the UAE
There has been struggles within rugby in Dubai, even before Dubai Wasps’ withdrawal. Many of Dubai’s clubs have had to find other funding after losing sponsorship revenue, some of which needed to find an extra Dh500,000 each year. This is without considering the increasing costs of running a club.
A number of rugby clubs in Dubai are unsure if they will be able to continue as a team if they are forced to continue paying high costs. It may cause some to drop in division or to withdraw from rugby in the same way the Dubai Wasps have had to.