Pumpas XV is the Argentine inclusive rugby team for people with intellectual disabilities. In 2017 they were champions of the International Mixed Ability Rugby Tournament played in Vitoria Gasteiz, Spain and organized by an English NGO.
In 15 days, the Albiceleste Selection must defend your world crown. MARAS XV (Mixed Ability Rugby Argentino) will also compete, made up of players from Santiago del Estero, Mendoza, Santa Fe, San Juan, Neuquén, Tucumán and Buenos Aires, and South America XV with players from Argentina, Ecuador and Chile.
The next edition of the contest will be from June 5 to 10 in Cork, Ireland. But a problem with the tickets generated in the delegation of more than 90 people a mix of anger and pain. Why? They don’t know if everyone will be able to attend.
The Pumpas XV and their set-up to defend the title. Instagram photo @pumpasxv
Daniel Fernandezmanager and coach of Pumpas XV commented to Clarion that, in late 2019 and early 2020 (before the ASPO was mandated), his team paid the company championship tours “more than 40 thousand dollars” in “complete passages“Y”ticket advances” to travel to the tournament scheduled for 2020 that was later postponed by covid-19.
The advances started at $150 and could reach up to a thousand dollars. While the complete flights left 1600 dollars. According to him trainer of the Argentine team 11 people (including players and relatives) paid for the entire tickets at that time.
for now, there are 4 players ready to participate in the World Cup who do not have their flight despite having paid for it two years ago. On their Instagram account they are collecting donations to be able to travel.
The Pumpas XV training. Instagram photo @pumpasxv
Fernández says that in 2021 they found out that they had to play the tournament the following year and they notified the agency. But from the other side they answered that the prices “had changed”. They knew, from acquaintances, that it was a lie and asked for the return of the advances and the issuance of tickets that were already paid. Unanswered emails, missed calls, claims and denials. Time went by and communication wore out.
The situation got so long that the tournament came upon them. Although they will go to trial to resolve the issue of money, no one solves them immediately. “Today that flight leaves us between 700 and 900 thousand pesos“, says Daniel Fernández, a pioneer in inclusive rugby in the country and who gave life to Pumpas XV in 2016.
“We are collecting money through donations to pay for those 4 flights because with the sponsors we already have everything closed,” he added. 15 days after traveling, nothing is resolved.
“On the other hand, our lawyer has already initiated criminal, civil and commercial legal actions,” he says. They did not agree in mediation..
Los Pumpas XV was born in 2016 by Daniel Fernández. Instagram photo @pumpasxv
What can the State do?
From the Ministry of Tourism and Sports commanded by Matías Lammens assured that “they were not aware of the issue because no presentation was made by the victims in the agency against the agency in question”, but they added that “from the public knowledge of this case it is confirmed that the portfolio will act ex officio“.
Regarding the possible sanctions, they confirmed that “If the illicit acts are proven, a suspension of the file, a fine or a definitive dismissal from the agency may apply.“. But they clarified that this will not “solve in the short term the difficulty that the boys have to travel”.
The company’s response
Yesterday, the digital edition of La Nación newspaper published an unfortunate note saying that we would have swindled the Pumpas team as a company, without contacting us and listening to our version. We want to make it clear that under no circumstances was this the case. We have an agreement since 2019 for our company to take the Pumpas team to the World Cup that will be held in Cork, Ireland. The parents of the boys were contributing money on a monthly basis until 2020 when the pandemic occurred. At that time we suspended payments until we knew what was going to happen, without receiving new income until today. There were very few people who paid for the entire trip. There are less than 10 people who did and still traveled or did not receive their air ticket. We want to clarify that among the people who had made the full payment, there is a group that has already made trips to other destinations, since they preferred not to wait until the next World Cup and they did it correctly. In the middle of the road and to help the boys, we got sponsors who were going to help with clothing for the entire squad that traveled from Argentina. The World Cup was rescheduled from June 2020 year after year, as was the Pumpas trip. A few days after making the trip with everything armed and the group reservations made, due to a unilateral decision of their leadership they decide to cancel the entire contracted group. Harming above all the few people who had completed the payment and our company of course. From that moment we are in direct contact with these people to solve their personal issue in the best way and that they can travel to the World Cup. We understand that the pandemic, the current situation in the country and all the rescheduling have made things very difficult for everyone, but here we are as always. We are a fully licensed and in order company. We flatly denied the versions that we had closed. The pandemic left many companies on the road, but thanks to the effort we made, we were able to stay on our feet. Since 2016 that we have dedicated ourselves to this sports tourism activity, we have taken many kids on tour inside and outside of Argentina, such as receiving foreign delegations in our country. The truth is that these public slanders that they make about our Company hurt and offend us, since all of us who are part of Championship Tours are good people. It hurts us a lot when they say that we took advantage of Pumpas or any other delegation. Because we are like that. For us, taking the boys from Pumpas is a tremendous honor and during all these 3 years we have worked to be able to offer them everything that these rugby players deserve. We want to make it clear once again that we are making every effort to clear this up as soon as possible.
A story of love and family
Daniel Fernandez is the creator of 15th bomb. It all started a few years ago. One Sunday afternoon, back in 2011, he took his son Joaquín, who was born with Down Syndrome, to the club “Del Sur Rugby y Hockey” and decided to put together a call to carry out some sports activity with his family.
This is how inclusive rugby was born in the country. At that time there were three people, but over the years many more joined. In 2015 the International Mixed Skills Rugby Tournament they were contacted to participate in the first inclusive world rugby tournament. But as they did not yet have a team, the handful of Argentines who went to England joined the Italian team.
They are the world champions and must defend the title from June 5 to 10 in Ireland. Instagram photo @pumpasxv
In 2016 Pumpas nation XV. A national team made up of people with and without intellectual disabilities, where seven or eight “support people” are included on the field who make the game more fluid when their participation is necessary. The name is a mix of Pumas and Pampas XV.
In 2017 the Argentine delegation went to the second International Mixed Ability Rugby Tournament in Vitoria, Spain and emerged champions.
Now, they must defend their title in the next tournament to be played in Cork, Ireland. The delegation will be 90 people and will include three teams: 15th Bomb, MARAS XV (by Mixed Ability Rugby Argentina) Y South America XV (Argentines, Chileans and Ecuadorians).
The championship will begin on June 5 and will end on the 10th of the same month. There will be 24 teams divided into 6 zones and a women’s competition with 4 teams. The participating countries are: Argentina, Ireland, England, Wales, Scotland, Italy, Spain, Canada, Belgium, Ecuador and Chile.
for now, 15th bomb and the Argentine Foundation for Inclusive Rugby are raising money through donations to be able to pay the missing tickets. On his Instagram page (@pumpasxv) is all the information about it.