World Rugby approves game-changing goggles law

World Rugby has approved a game-changing amendment to the Laws of the game that will enable the wearing of goggles at all levels of the game. 

The changes are primarily intended to allow those who have visual problems that require the wearing of corrective lenses but cannot wear contact lenses to play the game of rugby.  

The change to the Laws is driven by Word Rugby’s “A Sport For All” strategic vision – promoting inclusivity at all levels.

The approval of the goggles comes after extensive development and robust testing.

The goggles are approved for rugby at all levels, from schools and community level right up to Test match level.

World Rugby’s final approval of the goggles follows a comprehensive law trial, launched in 2014 after World Rugby identified the need to develop a product that paves the way for greater participation in a safe environment.

In partnership with Italy-based eyewear specialists Raleri, a design was developed to facilitate the inclusion of prescription lenses beyond contact lenses into a device that does not increase the risk of injury to the wearer or to players coming into contact with the wearer.

The successful trial attracted more than 2,000 registrants. 

The detailed feedback from participants in the trial allowed World Rugby to develop an evidence-based performance specification in partnership with the University of Ulster and the University of Bradford in the UK to refine the design of the goggles.

The trial has enabled those with limited or no sight in one eye to participate in the sport more comfortably, as demonstrated by the inspiring story of Italy international Ian McKinley, who became the first wearer of goggles in a senior international. 

World Rugby Chairman Sir Bill Beaumont said: “The approval of this law amendment is a very significant advancement for rugby and for contact sport, and as someone who championed the project from its inception, I am delighted to see goggles become enshrined within our laws.

“This is a strong demonstration of World Rugby’s commitment to game innovation and player welfare, but also our mission to making rugby a more accessible and inclusive sport at all levels.”

“This pioneering project was launched to address a specific issue and with the help of Raleri, the University of Ulster and University of Bradford, we have successfully developed a product that will enable more people to play rugby in a safe and comfortable way and we thank all those involved, particularly the players, for their support and passion in making this idea a reality that will transform access to the sport.”

Anyone interested in the approved goggles should visit www.raleri.com.