5 Questions with… Cesare Zambelli


1. Cesare you were one of the Beach 5s pioneer. Could you tell us how everything started?

It was 20 years ago and started out pretty much as a joke amongst a group of rugby teammates who either worked or usually spent the holidays in Lignano Sabbiadoro. The first time out was an historic match featuring the ‘lifeguards’ versus ‘rugby udine’….you could say this was a kind of BIG BANG that sparked a host other BANGS on beaches all around Italy. Then from 2001 we launched Super Beach 5s in the Lignano Beach Arena. With a capacity of 4,000 spectators, the concept was to create a more spectacular platform for this short format style of rugby that would work for both for the players and the fans.

2. Being involved with Beach Rugby for so many years, in your opinion the sports´growth was slower or faster than you expected?

It seems like we’ve spent many years at this point. But there’s always been growth. Sometimes at great speed and other times it seems we reach a natural pause. Infact these lulls have been really helpful to allow us time to work on modifying the rules and regulations for Beach 5s. Our goal has always been to make it as safe as possible for everyone who wants to play. While at the same time, as fast and exciting as possible for all the fans who enjoy watching. After so many years in development, we’re now confident that Beach 5s is ‘The Fastest Game of Rugby on the Planet.’

3. EBRA circuit presents 7 legs in 2014. What that means for the growing of the sport?

The meaning is self-evident. People like Beach 5s and its spreading like wildfire. Starting from the North, it’s already arrived in the Southern Hemisphere. But Europe still remains the cradle of development for Beach 5s.

4. Last year you visited Figueira for the first time. What your impressions are about the event?

It’s a leading event which shows off how well Beach Rugby culture is spreading across Portugal’s beaches. The Figueira tournament organisation is now an important pillar in the expanding EBRA Series circuit and is a worthy display of what a future FIRA-AER series venue could look like.

5. How do you see Beach 5s in the future?

One word only: Olympics ! Whether we’re talking short term or long term, it doesn’t matter. The day will surely come when the IOC and the Olympics will become attracted to the beauty Beach 5s …. 10 minute matches with upwards of 20 tries scored per game…..it has got to be one of the best, most exciting new sporting products that can be offered to both Olympic audiences and worldwide media alike.


Other Characters