The European Rugby League Leadership Devolution Project is underway, with the Czech Rugby League Association hosting a four-day match officials seminar attended by English, Swedish and Maltese delegates.
The tutor training and assessing was linked with the annual season-opening CZRLA 9s tournament in Hradec Kralove and culminated in the delivery of a Level 1 Match Officials course.
The project is the largest international technical development initiative in rugby league history, with over €330.000 of investment - €195.000 of which is from the European Union – spread over 17 participant countries - whose objective is to produce fully trained and qualified match official and coach tutors.
The concept is based around clusters of nations and a mentoring system. In this cluster the English Rugby Football League mentors the Czechs who will lead on the technical delivery in the first phases of the project, before themselves playing a mentor role with the Maltese and Swedes.
“I came away from it a lot more knowledgeable and practical experience as a tutor,” said Swedish Rugby League tutor-candidate Rajendra Shah. He was accompanied by his colleague Paris Ghavidel-Asgari.
Serbian referee Aleksandar Markovic, now residing in Malta and the lead official in Malta's 2014 Dove Men+Care Championship added: "I had a great time in the Czech Republic; I learned so much from my tutors. I am never going to forget my time on this course." He was joined by Malta Rugby League official Anthony Micallef.
Lead CZRLA tutor Petr Sedina, who will attend the activity in Malta, was satisfied with the outcome which saw 16 new Czech officials qualified. “It was a great help to CZRLA domestic activities. We hope this will assist us to build a platform to expand CZRLA even further going forward,” he commented.
RLEF match official squad members Phil Smith and Paul Stockman oversaw the weekend’s activities. Smith said, “The tutor training went really well. We were able to spend lots of time with Raj, Alex and Pais. They did the full course; outside practical sessions; refereed and assisted in sessions with the Czechs.”