World Rugby and ChildFund, the principal charity partner for Rugby World Cup (RWC) 2019, have confirmed a record-breaking £2 million has been pledged to the innovative ChildFund Pass It Back programme.
With a week to go until the World Cup in Japan, funds raised through opt-in donations when purchasing tickets have increased by an impressive 50 per cent compared to RWC 2015.
The pledge figure also includes donations from online shoppers at the Official Rugby World Cup 2019 Online Shop and support provided by RWC's worldwide partners and individual donors around the globe.
World Rugby Chief Executive Brett Gosper said: "World Rugby, together with ChildFund, believe in the power of sport to change children's lives, and this demonstration of support shows that our global rugby family holds the same values.
"This extraordinary display of solidarity and generosity means the level of pledged charitable funds for this year's Rugby World Cup will surpass any tournament in history.
"Most importantly, it means that Rugby World Cup 2019 will leave a lasting and important legacy for vulnerable children living in Asia's developing communities."
The pledged funds will give more than 25,000 children and youth from disadvantaged communities in Asia the opportunity to benefit from their involvement in the award-winning ChildFund Pass It Back programme.
Led by ChildFund in partnership with World Rugby and Asia Rugby, Pass It Back not only promotes the right to play in communities where children have little or no access to organised sport, but provides important learning opportunities around leadership, problem-solving, gender equity, conflict-resolution and planning for the future.
Over half of all players and coaches involved in the programme are female.
ChildFund CEO Nigel Spence said: "We are overwhelmed by this wonderful demonstration of support from the global rugby family. To know that thousands of people around the world believe in every child's right to play, learn and grow is very powerful.
"With this support, we can reach more marginalised children in Asia – girls, children from developing communities, and young people living in rural and remote areas who have never had the opportunity to take part in organised sport before."
The pledged donations will also assist with future emergency relief efforts in disaster-affected areas of Japan.