World Rugby Council has approved the applications of Rugby Guatemala (Asociacion Deportiva de Rugby de Guatemala) and Slovenská Rugbyová Únia (Slovak Rugby Union) to become associate member unions.
Both unions were supported in their applications by their respective regional associations, Sudamérica Rugby and Rugby Europe, as well as their World Rugby Regional Managers with the total number of World Rugby members now standing at 121 (103 full and 18 associate) member unions.
World Rugby Chairman Bernard Lapasset said: "We are delighted to be welcoming Slovakia and Guatemala as members of World Rugby. These are very exciting times for our sport with unprecedented growth and interest around the world. With today's announcement, we look forward to a stronger, better-organised game in those countries and we are glad that they are now ready to join the global rugby family and resume their work growing the game in South America and Europe.”
Both Rugby Guatemala and SRU are active unions within their regional associations, both are recognised by their respective National Olympic Committees and both meet the associate membership criteria. Guatemala became a full member of Sudamérica Rugby in 2013 while Slovakia achieved that in Europe back in 2004. Both are regular participants in regional activities and tournaments.
In addition, World Rugby endorsed the decision of Asia Rugby to expel the Cambodian Federation of Rugby due to the continued failure of the union to comply with membership criteria. World Rugby Council therefore approved the expulsion of the Cambodian Federation of Rugby from World Rugby membership with immediate effect.