Delegates from Denmark and Germany spent two days in Cardiff this week, as their group in the EU-financed Leadership Devolution Project got underway with a governance seminar co-hosted by Sport Wales and cluster leader, Wales Rugby League.
WRL chairman Brian Juliff headed the WRL delegation and was impressed by the Continental contingent.
“It was a pleasure to meet and work with representatives of the Denmark and German Rugby Leagues,” he said. “Their unbridled enthusiasm, passion and determination for establishing our sport in their respective nations was infectious and very encouraging for the growth of the game in Europe.
“We are very pleased that Wales RL have been partnered with two potentially powerful future rugby league nations and will work steadfastly in support of their cause.”
The three nations included a visit to Sport Wales’s headquarters in Cardiff city centre where the national sports authority gave a presentation explaining the structure of Welsh sport, including its community, elite, technical and volunteering strategies.
The German delegation – Bob and Liam Doughton, and Mawuli Amefia – found the presentation particularly helpful as they set about restructuring Rugby League Deutschland, which a focus on a legally registered organisation and members.
“I would like to thank Brian and Chris Thair [WRL Chief Operating Officer] on behalf of all those people who are keen on developing rugby league in Germany,” noted Bob Doughton. “The whole visit was mentoring in its finest form - both pragmatic and inspirational at the same time.”
The Danmark Rugby League Forbund was represented by general secretary Richard Naylor and official Viiga Lima.
Naylor commented, “On top of all the practical advice, spurring on our own plans, sharing of resources and encouragement, we can't stress enough the fantastic value of meeting other administrators in the game and making those vital connections.
“It has been just the helping hand we needed to go back to our own organisation with renewed energy, ideas and enthusiasm for strengthening the game in Scandinavia,” he added.
The Leadership Devolution Project is intended to increase the capacity of the participating NGBs, utilising a tiered mentoring structure and focusing on governance and technical education, to support the rapid growth of the sport in Europe. The project’s main donor is the EU, which has committed €195.000 over the 18-month project.