During the week, more than a hundred statutory refugees were brought together in Paris by France 2023 and Ovale Citoyen. The two organisations have been working together since July to use rugby as a tool of long-term inclusion of discriminated or isolated persons through the organisation of job-dating sessions.


After an initial launch at the Rugby Africa Cup 2022 in Marseille, seven job-dating sessions have been organised within the Rugby Villages of the France 2023 Rugby Tour, the Rugby World Cup 2023 train travelling across the country since 21st July. Their main goal is to help statutory refugees through their process of integration in the French society with the help of the French Office for Immigration and Integration (FOII) and the support of PROMAN and France Pare-Brise.

In addition to dedicated times to play rugby in the Rugby Villages, each participant had an individual interview in order to obtain either a subsidised internship, a fixed-term contract (over 6 months) or a permanent contract.

In total, 252 statutory refugees from 13 different countries benefited from this initiative. 47 have found a job thanks to these job-dating sessions, especially within the France 2023’s sponsors teams. Moreover, 89 are currently engaged in a recruitment process and 116 refugees are still being helped by Ovale Citoyen to perfect their access to the job market.

Committed to act in favour of inclusion and integration, France 2023 and Ovale Citoyen will amplify this initiative together, all the way through Rugby World Cup 2023. This moment of celebration and inclusivity will support the professional integration of refugees throughout the French territory, thanks to rugby.

Martine Nemecek, France 2023 Deputy CEO: “Rugby is a sport which gets its strength from our differences. No matter our origins, our condition, our path of life, everyone can find its place.

In the final sprint towards Rugby World Cup 2023, and in agreement with our objectives of building an event accessible to all, we are delighted of our association with Ovale Citoyen and the first promising results of these job-dating sessions, which allowed the integration of statutory refugees through rugby. Better than words, this initiative proves the unique and uniting power of this sport. This is our pride.”

Christian Iacini, Ovale Citoyen CEO: “Rugby is a sport of possibilities. Our objective is to make it a tool of social inclusion and professional integration, without any discriminations. We aim to open a field of opportunities to all those who need support to turn their life around.

Rugby values are more than a mere image. They are fully expressed by the ambition of France 2023 to have a positive impact, to initiate a specific inclusive programme for statutory refugees. This integration week is an opportunity to shine a light on this new project, which will continue to thrive in 2023.”