President of the Ukrainian Federation of Rugby League, Artur Martyrosyan Jnr, recently paid a visit to England, with his principal objective being to garner support from Super League clubs to back his similar vision back home.
The Ukrainian Super League project, supported by Spanish sportswear company Joma, is intended to increase the game’s visibility in Ukraine through exposure to the Super League Europe competition, and by Super League Europe clubs forming alliances with the newly created Ukrainian premier outfits. The UFRL anticipates that the proposed clubs would be linked to local government funding, and would play out of quality stadia.
“I came to England to create links between eight Super League clubs and a similar number back home,” said Martyrosyan, who also forged alliances at other levels of the game. “I am so happy with the results of the trip. The most positive aspect being that I found some clubs willing to receive Ukrainian players immediately. Our players have a good physique and technique but their game experience and tactical awareness needs improving, so this player exchange will be a start.
“I would like to thank (Super League GM) Mark Foster for his time, and his understanding of our situation in Ukraine. He appreciates that this project can help both the growth of European rugby league and Super League’s Europe’s popularity.”
His trip included watching the Challenge Cup final at Wembley, meeting with York City Knights, and discussing possible tours to the Ukraine in 2018 with BARLA and other community clubs in York and Leeds.
“I will now go back to Ukraine, speak to Joma, and await news from the UK clubs,” he said. “I would like to thank all the clubs I met for their generosity and interest in this project.”