Lebanon rugby league launch fundraising appeal after Beirut blasts

The Lebanese Rugby League Federation is appealing to the international rugby league community to raise funds to aid relief after the devastating explosions in Beirut.

Earlier this month, two explosions occurred in the Lebanon capital Beirut, resulting in at least 157 deaths, 5,000 injuries, $10-$15billion in propert damage and an estimated 300,000 people have been made homeless.

The Lebanese Rugby League Federation (LRLF) has organised an appeal to raise funds which will go directly to support the relief effort and to support the Lebanese first responders.

LRLF chief executive officer, Nayef Abi Said who is leading the appeal said: “Once again our beloved country has been devasted. We were already in a huge economic crisis plus the problems caused by COVID-19 and now the explosion has impacted on so many people. We feel that we should and must do everything assist.

“The Lebanese Rugby League Federation would like to request an act of solidarity from the whole rugby league community around the world.

“Whilst Numerous Governmental and Non-Governmental organizations are doing amazing job on the ground, we have decided to support Lebanese First Responders.

“We have established a GoFundMe page to process the donations and we have set an initial target of £50,000.

“My appeal is to all our friends involved in rugby league around the world. We understand that these times are tough for everyone but please try to support LRLF if you can, as we support those who are in the most need after this terrible explosion.”

Lebanon reached the quarter-finals of the 2017 World Cup, beating France 29-18 and they provided England a stern test before going down 29-10.

They qualified for the 2021 World Cup as a result, where they have been drawn in a group with New Zealand, Jamaica and Ireland.

The Cedars will play games at the Halliwell Jones Stadium in Warrington and Leigh Sports Village next year.

International Rugby League (IRL) chief executive officer, Nigel Wood added: “The international rugby league community has previously come together to support members when devastation has struck their region. IRL is keen to help LRLF to co-ordinate this fund-raising effort and I would ask and encourage all of our members, clubs and fans to promote the campaign and support it in whatever way they can.

“These are challenging times for everyone, but we have demonstrated for many years the immense compassion of the rugby league community and I know that we can summon up the strength to support Lebanon in this time of great need.”

Donations can be made by visiting the GoFundMe page https://www.gofundme.com/lrlf-first-responders-fund

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