Rugby League’s Sport England funding cut by 38%

Sport England has slashed its funding towards Rugby League, offering £10.75m over the next four-year period.

The funding received is a 38% deduction from the previous four-year cycle, when the Rugby Football League was awarded £17.5m to help the development of the game.


Between 2017-2020, the funding will aid the creation of more opportunities for people to participate at both school and university level, plus aid the development of alternative modes of the game, such as Touch Rugby League, Try Tag Rugby League and Wheelchair Rugby League.

Rugby League is not the only sport to receive a significant cut to funding. Rugby union saw their payment drop from £20 million to £12.6 million while basketball and table tennis were other sports that were distributed smaller funds.


Chief Executive Officer, Nigel Wood, said: “The Rugby Football League appreciates all of the public funding that has come into the sport. The investment from Sport England will assist us in supporting and growing areas that have a strong Rugby League player base and will enable the Rugby Football League to focus on enabling more people to keep playing the sport they love.

“We understand the need to create new funding streams into all levels of the game if we are to truly maximise the opportunity of hosting the Rugby League World Cup in 2021 and like all sports organisations, the Rugby Football League is working hard to reduce reliance on public investment. We have already embarked on a sport-wide transformation with new digital systems and processes which build on strong league and competition management and improvements in player retention.

“We are in a good position to continue to move the sport forward, particularly having also secured significant external investment through our Sky Try campaign, which has committed £2m per year until 2021 and which will enable more than 100,000 children to play the sport in the first 18 months of the programme.”

According to a statement, the Rugby Football League says it was advised by Sport England that it would initially be able to bid for an award of between £9m and £11m and was informed today it would receive 97% of the maximum available to it, £10.75m. In addition to this, the Rugby Football League is able to bid into other Sport England funding streams including volunteering, and work is underway to do this.