By Francisco Cortez
Palma.—Former England rugby international Steve Redfern was in Majorca this week preparing the seventh edition of the Majorca Beach Rugby tournament to be held in Magalluf next year.

The event, that takes place every year on the first week of May, has gone from strength to strength since its first edition back in 2007, and this year 42 teams from 11 different countries were involved in the competition.

So much so that Steve flew to the island on purpose to meet with the Council and discuss how the event can be improved next Summer.
The main concern of the organising team is that with growing participation, space is starting to be an issue, with sun beds on the beach taking up too much room, meaning that pitches are too far apart and people could miss out on the socializing part, the main aim of the event. “It's not uncommon that teams and referees often stop the games to sing and laugh and share jokes as that is the spirit the team is hoping to express. “It's all fun and games and that is the spirit we want to promote” “Everybody has a good time. We have rugby matches for ladies, men, veterans, children so it has to be something fun. It's not just a bunch of drunk hooligans playing. It's for everybody. Apart from the tournament we also hold regular parties and fancy dressing events so there is something for everyone,” said Suzanne Lyons who helps Steve with the organisation details. “It's all very relaxed. And for example if a couple of players take it a bit to seriously, this year we came up with a pink card rule. If someone goes over the limit and are shown a pink card they have to kiss and make up. I can see a lot of weddings coming after this”, she joked.

The team plans to discuss with the authorities the possibility of advertising on the beach, something that so far has been denied but that they stress is very important not only for them but for the community. “We are growing fast. Last year we booked 300 apartments for teams to come over, and this excluding the teams that came over on their own. Bars and restaurants have also started to open later as on average each person spends around 200 euros over the three days they are here so this is massive business for the Council. And if we could advertise it would not only help us improve the experience, but also dinamize the area even further.” So far Steve and his team have not been lucky with this issue but were keen to point out the help and support they have received from the authorities. “This is a problem we are trying to resolve, but in all fairness the Council have been very helpfull, specially with beaurocracy, which in Spain can drive you mad at times. People tell us ‘you should just put up the advertising, no one will care' but we want to do things properly without upseting anyone.” Plans to broadcast the tournament on the radio
The event, which will be sponsored by Kopparberg cider in the next three years, has also started to generate interest back home in the UK, with several Rugby magazines showing interest in reporting the event, something that Suzanne and Steve are understandably delighted. “This tournament is very well organised. We put a lot of work into it and it's showing. As soon as this year's event finished people were already asking us to count on them for 2014. That's why we are planning so far in advance. We think next year we will have to find apartments and rooms for 400 people and the number of teams is also set to increase. We just need more sponsors. With more people coming over we also need more material, referees and people to work with us. “Our idea is to speak with radio producers as well to see if we could broadcast the rugby matches. This year, teams from England, Scotland, Spain, Germany, Italy, Sweden, Wales, Belgium, Argentina, France and the Netherlands participated in the tournament won in the end, by the hosts.


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