Sport England survey reveals Rugby League growth

The latest Sport England survey shows an increase in the number of people playing Rugby League over the last year.

Between October 2012 and October 2013, the number of weekly participants rose from 48,600 to 53,500. And Rugby League was unique in that no other team sport registered an increase across that 12-month period.

Football suffered a loss of 96,600 participants, cricket was down 40,700 and netball lost 28,400. Rugby Union participation has also dropped.

The survey results will affect the amount of public funding given to the sports, with football and tennis set to lose much of their funding.

RFL Director of Participation and Strategic Partnerships David Gent said: “It’s great to see that, on the back of a fantastic Rugby League World Cup 2013 and the Festivals of World Cups in the summer, the popularity of the sport is continuing to grow.

“Not only did we meet the targets set by Sport England, but we exceeded them. I am confident that that trend will continue as we build on the legacy of RLWC2013 and the Festivals of World Cups.

“These figures can only inspire the Government’s confidence that Rugby League is a sport which is thriving.”

For the purposes of the survey, participation once a week is defined as participation on at least four days out of the previous 28 days for at least 30 minutes at a moderate intensity.

Rugby League’s participation numbers include the people playing the full 13-a-side game, as well as those playing tag Rugby League, touch Rugby League and other modified forms of the game.