The Rugby Football League, whose player membership scheme is set to become reality in the New Year, has asked amateur clubs to spread the word among their players regarding an interview in which leading referee Robert Hicks explains the background to the initiative.
Sandy Lindsay MBE, an RFL Non-Executive Director and Chair of the Community Board, said in an email issued late last week: “The winter months are crucial for the launch of the Our League Active membership participation scheme in 2022.
“It was always going to be a challenge for us, as a governing body, to explain the introduction of our sport’s first participants’ membership – and particularly why it is needed.”
She continued: “If you still have concerns and questions about the scheme, please do watch Robert Hicks being interviewed by Fraser Dainton of Sky Sports fame. You’ll hear Fraser challenging Rob on various aspects of Our League Active, and Rob answering many of the questions asked by clubs and leagues over the last twelve months of consultation.
“We do hope it clarifies things for you and puts your mind at rest as much as possible.
“We know we haven’t got everything right – but we have poured hundreds of collective hours into this process to try to ensure that we consulted, listened, and amended, as well as informed.”
Lindsay reflected: “It has been really heartening over the last few weeks to hear more clubs and leagues recognising that we’re all in this together. There may never be universal acceptance of every aspect of Our League Active, or the benefits it can bring to the community game – but we need it to be a success, as we all share the goal of having as many people as possible actively involved in Rugby League.
“We’d also appreciate your help in reaching as many players and parents as possible. It’s in everyone’s interest to ensure this membership doesn’t come as a surprise to anyone and that we’re all ready when the time comes to register for next season.”
She concluded: “The core message remains that it is a participant membership, and players will be required to pay for that membership at the point of registration. Some clubs have indicated a preference to pay for some or all of their participants, and we have promised to work with them to make that possible. We also agreed to explore the possibility of players being able to pay for their membership over a period and I am pleased to say that payments can be spread over three months.
“As we approach the key registration months of December and January, we need to know for sure which clubs wish to operate in this way, and which clubs would prefer to leave players to register individually – while we hope they will offer any support necessary to make the process as straightforward as possible.”
Clubs have until Friday 3 December to decide whether they intend to a) pay for all of their members b) pay for some or c) have players pay for their own membership.
Lindsay and her colleagues have, meanwhile, arranged a ‘digital postcard’ link to a shorter interview with Robert Hicks which, she says, “is designed to explain the membership in a nutshell to participants and their parents.”
She concluded: “The more we can make people aware of the programme before it’s time to pay, the more chance they’ll be ready and will register on time and all will flow through as normal and allow the new season to start on time.”
Two legends of the grassroots game celebrated their birthdays last week.
Maurice Oldroyd (left) was 86 on Friday 19 November while Spen Allison completed his 82nd year yesterday (21 November).
Allison, who is currently President of BARLA, is a former long-serving Chair of the Association, while Oldroyd was at the administrative helm for many years. Both men have graced – and still are gracing – amateur Rugby League with tremendous distinction.
The Canadian Grizzlies built up for yesterday’s International Masters Festival at Leigh with two warm-up games.
Canada opened their tour with an entertaining match against hosts `Dads & Lads’ at Hunslet’s South Leeds Stadium in a fixture preceded by a Women’s Masters encounter.
The Grizzlies, whose ages ranged from 36 to 61, included a number of debutants and were captained by the motivational Nicholas Mew, while Jarrett Muldoon and Chris Hrynkow impressed.
Hooker Corey Fraser was hailed by the Dads & Lads as the Grizzlies’ Player of the Match; Canada chose scrum half Neil Gavaghan (Blackpool Masters) as the home side’s top performer. Dads & Lads organiser Martin Flynn, meanwhile, enjoyed a special afternoon, playing alongside all three of his sons, Simon, Shaun and Paul; and his day was made complete when his two granddaughters joined him as the teams walked out.
Canada’s second match took place on Thursday evening at Victoria Park, Warrington, against a Crosfields side that had enough players to field two teams. The game, which was well-refereed by Blackpool Masters’ Paul Ogden and Canada’s Ray Hutson, marked the Grizzlies’ first-ever try, which was claimed by Steve Van Niekerk.
Former Canada Wolverine Eric Moyer, the visitors’ man of the match, followed suit, together with Canada Rugby League President Bob Jowett. Phil Bannon and Roger Steele replied for the Soap, whose top performer was Brian Perry.
The post-match celebrations included a traditional fish-and-chips supper and the presentation of the awards by Welsh Rugby League legend Mike Nicholas.
A report on the International Festival, which also involved England, Ireland and Wales, will feature in next week’s League Express.
Almost four decades of outstanding service to his local community by Malcolm Waite, through the vehicle of amateur Rugby League, has been recognised by Leeds City Council.
Waite, who has been heavily involved with East Leeds since the early 1980s (shortly after the club was formed) collected the prestigious Unsung Hero accolade at the recent Leeds Compassion Awards.
East Leeds are holding a testimonial evening in Malcolm Waite’s honour on Saturday 11 December (7.00pm). The event, at Easts’ Easy Road base, will be hosted by Michael Bradshaw and will involve a three-course Christmas Dinner meal and entertainment by Immortality – the UK’s no 1 Celine Dion tribute act.
Tickets, at £35, can be purchased from the club or by emailing email@example.com
Some 500 fans gathered at Robin Park, Wigan last week to watch a BARLA Legends side topple a Rugby League All Stars team 42-12.
The beneficiary was the Life for a Kid charity, whose coffers will be boosted by around £5,000.
The next game in support of the charity will take place next March.
“No scrums yet.”
The winter-based University and College Leagues will operate, for the remainder of the campaign, under the rules that pertained at the beginning of the 2021-22 season.
The Rugby Football League has confirmed that scrums will be reintroduced in 2022 but Adam Hughes, the RFL’s Development – Education Lead, told League Express: “College and University competitions that have started in 2021 will continue with the 2021 rules through to the completion of their seasons; the President’s Cup and Student Four Nations will follow the 2022 rules.”
Two other winter-based competitions, the Pennine League and the Women’s Amateur Rugby League Association’s two-division league, have yet to confirm their stances on reintroducing scrums.
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