31 Oct 2011

Libya looks to rugby to help fighters readjust

2:56 pm on 31 October 2011

Fans of rugby in Libya are hoping the game will help integrate back into society young men fresh from the conflict between the former government and rebels.

Rugby was discouraged under Muammar Gaddafi's regime because it was seen as being unduly rough.

The sport also had a large fan base in Libya's second city of Benghazi, which was neglected by the Gaddafi administration.

Proponents of the code say its intense teamwork and emphasis on fair play could help former fighters readjust to everyday life.

They say sport in general is going to be key to integrating young men back into society.

French and British oil workers introduced rugby to Libyans in the 1970s but the country's first official tournament was held only in 2008.