The Rugby Football League, in its weekly community update to amateur outfits, advised secretaries on Friday that, to further encourage ‘best behaviour’ at club level, it has refreshed its codes of conduct for players, coaches, match officials, parents, spectators, volunteers and administrators.
Confirming that the ‘Enjoy the Game’ and ‘TACKLE IT’ initiatives have been aligned, the RFL’s spokesperson said: “Our plan is to make Rugby League a truly inclusive sport by tackling discrimination and breaking down any barriers to involvement.
“‘Enjoy the Game’ continues to stress the importance of behaving with respect at all levels of the game, and there is a fresh emphasis on promoting positive environments throughout all levels of Rugby League.
“Whether it’s playing a junior or amateur league game, or watching on the terraces at a Super League or Challenge Cup fixture, we want to make the whole of Rugby League a positive and enjoyable game, in which we can all enjoy our role and our sport.”
The spokeperson continued: “In 2018 we carried out a review in the 12-18 Age Group, and conducted online surveys of the Open Age game.
“We wanted to listen and understand which areas have the biggest impact on participation in Rugby League. The feedback highlighted touchline behaviour as an area which requires attention. As a result, we want to sustain positive surroundings to create fun, safe and inclusive environments for all players, spectators, match officials, volunteers and coaches involved in Rugby League.
“We are continuing to roll out ‘Enjoy the Game’ education packages and workshops to community and professional clubs, coaches, parents, and volunteers (including Touchline Managers). These promote and show how positive behaviour can improve performance and enjoyment both on and off the field.”
Clubs have been provided with new marketing materials to emphasise the campaign to players, staff, and all visitors. The code of conduct, meanwhile, stresses that anti-discrimination has always been part of the ‘Enjoy the Game’ campaign, and that everyone should treat others as they themselves would like to be treated. In addition, the ‘TACKLE IT’ plan includes actions on player and coach recruitment and development, talent inclusion and progression, community outreach and club development, as well as on ensuring zero tolerance of all forms of discrimination within the game.
The statement concluded: “A truly diverse and inclusive Rugby League is a stronger Rugby League. And together, by reporting and dealing with issues, we can make our sport truly inclusive. If you experience unacceptable language or discrimination in Rugby League, directly or indirectly, you can report it to firstname.lastname@example.org.”
Meanwhile a Community Club Webinar will be held on Wednesday 4 August (6.00pm-7.00pm) covering an update on Our League Active only, when Sandy Lindsay MBE, the chair of the Community Board, plus other members of the board will be in attendance.
In addition, following the change in Government Guidance, the Covid Working Group has removed the rule limiting the number of matches a player can play within a 48-hour period. “We would, however, recommend from a welfare perspective that this is managed appropriately,” said the spokesperson.
KING CROSS PARK are the inaugural winners of the British Amateur Rugby League Association’s monthly membership draw.
The Halifax outfit were first out of the hat at last Thursday’s event, scooping the £300 first prize.
Kingswood Knights, of Hull, snared the £175 second prize. Castleford’s Lock Lane will benefit to the tune of £75, and Furness club Hindpool will shortly find £50 in their bank account.
The draw was conducted by Zoom, with BARLA chair Sue Taylor in attendance, together with vice-chair Steve Manning, Phil Bradbury and Keith Bell.
Draws take place on the third Thursday of every month, with an extra prize of £500 being up for grabs in September, December and March. And, each June, the first prize will be increased to a whopping £1100.
BARLA’s Club Membership fee has been reduced to £12.50 per club; for that, clubs will gain free entry to all of the Association’s cups, and players will be eligible for county and international honours.
MASTERS Rugby League, which is enjoying its most successful season to date, will climax this year with a brace of festivals surrounding the World Cups (whether or not those competitions eventually proceed) in addition to the regular National Festival, which will be staged at its usual Blackpool base on Saturday 11 September.
Long-serving Masters official Paul Field told League Express: “I guess most people are disappointed at least by the decision of the Australian and New Zealand national governing bodies regarding RLWC2021. But the Masters clubs’ festival, and the Masters international festival will both go ahead.”
He continued: “Masters Rugby League is having its busiest and most successful season so far, with 57 clubs and over 1500 players registered, from Gillingham to Whitehaven, from Southampton to Newcastle and from Cardiff to Hull.”
The Masters Management Group had, prior to the shock announcement by Australia and New Zealand, revealed that two festivals surrounding the RLWC2021 had been arranged – in addition to the National Festival, which had already been inked in at Blackpool.
The Masters Clubs Festival, which is open to Men’s and Women’s sides and players, will be staged on Saturday 23 October (the scheduled opening day of the World Cup) at Jarrovians RUFC, and all Masters clubs – and registered Masters players – are invited to attend.
The action starts at 10.00am and has been arranged to conclude at 1.00pm to give everyone the opportunity to attend that afternoon’s England v Samoa World Cup opener, which kicks off at 2.30pm. The deadline for registering for the event is Monday 27 September.
That event will be followed by the World Cup Masters International Teams Festival, at Leigh East, on Sunday 21 November. Canada, England, France, Ireland and Wales have already confirmed involvement, while the USA has expressed interest. Field had stated (prior to Thursday’s announcement by the Australian and New Zealand governing bodies): “Due to ongoing Covid 19 travel restrictions in Australia and New Zealand, although invited, are unlikely to be able to attend the festival.”
Registrations can be booked at all three Masters events by emailing email@example.com
UNDERBANK RANGERS are launching a girls section.
The Huddersfield outfit, which is based at Holmfirth, plans to initially field sides at Under 16s, Under 14s and Under 12s.
A driving force behind the initiative is Rebecca Ball-Knight, who told League Express: “Rugby League is struggling a bit at the moment; from Covid, as is everyone else, but there also seems to be a bit of a decline.
“As we all know mental health is a massive thing in today’s society, and among girls it comes in all sorts of forms, including self-confidence problems, the pressures of social media etc.
“Team sports, especially contact sports, can help release aggression – something that most teenagers struggle with. They also instil teamwork, which is massive for kids – learning to appreciate others’ skills and abilities, and being kind too.”
Ball-Knight has emailed all high schools in the area, and is working closely with Huddersfield Giants’ Women’s tea, as part of the project. And she stresses that team sports such as Rugby League play a vital role, too, for boys.
WIGAN ST JUDES have hailed the work of their ever-supportive local councillors in helping facilitate the installation of a new cabin, which will be used to store training equipment, corner flags and post protectors at Parson’s Meadow for the club’s 22 teams.
Secretary Joe Fitzsimmons said: “We are very grateful for the unstinting efforts of Councillors David Hurst, William Rotherham and Pat Holland, in this instance through the Wigan council’s Brighter Borough Funding initiative.
“Their support on many fronts is a big factor in ensuring that Wigan St Judes continue to progress, despite the impact of Covid-19 lockdowns over the past 16 months or so.”
The above content is also available in the regular weekly edition of League Express, on newsstands every Monday in the UK and as a digital download. Click here for more details.