Polska XIII (Polish Rugby League) and English community club Manchester Rangers have announced a partnership that will see them both work together to grow the game within Poland and across Manchester’s Polish fraternity.
Lodz is the birthplace of the sport in Poland, the country’s third largest city and is often referred to as Poland’s Manchester. The Lodz Magpies will be one of five clubs taking part in the first Polish championship this season alongside Brzeziny, Stryków, Skierniewice and Tomaszów Mazowiecki.
Manchester Rangers player and coach Anthony Petrykowski, whose grandfather was born In Steklin and was in the Polish army during the Second World War, travelled to Poland in 2015 to establish the link.
Polskie Echo, the UK-based Polish newspaper, was invited to Manchester Rangers’ recent season launch event at the Manchester Regional Arena, Sports City and the club are looking to have a Polish speaking ambassador at games to make spectators feel welcome, including in their junior team the Belle Vue Bees.
In return, Polska XIII will help with the translation of club news into Polish and the promotion of the Manchester Rangers brand across the city to the Polish community.
This supports the RLEF commitment for sport to integrate migrants into new communities, which was a key point raised in the recent EU Sport Forum in March in the Hague.
Rangers chairman Phil Fitton said: “Everyone in the city is welcome to become a part of the club, rugby league is an inclusive family sport. As well as developing the game in Manchester, we want to support growth internationally and our relationship with Polish Rugby League is a fantastic place to start.”
Polska XIII President Lukasz Lucka added: “I’m very excited about establishing links with Manchester Rangers. It’s a fantastic club and we hope to get Polish migrants in UK involved in rugby league.”