Chronicle.lu recently sat down with Paolo Tarakdjian, President of Rugby Club Luxembourg (RCL), to discuss the club's upcoming 50th anniversary celebrations, how it has evolved over the years and what lies ahead this new year.
Founded in 1973, RCL is Luxembourg's oldest rugby club and is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year with a gala dinner at Parc Hotel Alvisse on 10 June. This event is open to the public and tickets are available on the RCL website. In addition to the gala, the RCL is organising a relaxed rugby evening (including a rugby game) on Friday 9 June 2023 and an event for children on Saturday 10 June 2023 (both taking place at Stade Boy Konen in Cessange).
Regarding how RCL has evolved over the past 50 years, Paolo Tarakdjian noted: "The club has grown quite a lot and still is [growing]. The rugby school started only some fifteen years ago and now we have a lot of young kids training and playing." He added: "We welcome everybody from everywhere, and in fact we can count more than 25 nationalities amongst our members."
As for the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, particularly on match organisation and membership numbers, Paolo confirmed: "We had no sport for a long period and then of course we lost some members." He added that it was "too early to verify" whether the new year has brought with it an increase in new members.
When asked whether rugby in general has grown in popularity in Luxembourg over the years, the RCL President said: "I think it has but we can still improve." He cited a lack of facilities (rugby pitches) as the main issue in this regard.
Regarding current leagues and divisions, Paolo confirmed that "RCL seniors play in the German second division", adding that "after a couple of years in the first, we were relegated last year."
He added that the seniors will be "back on the pitch around March after the winter pause in Germany", whilst the juniors will return to the pitch "in a couple of weeks." Notably, the RCL will play in the Luxembourg Cup against Walferdange in March 2023.
Paolo Tarakdjian, RCL President, refereeing a senior match