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The Rugby Football League has today received confirmation from Sport England that it will be awarded £10.75m to help grow and sustain participation in Rugby League.
The investment being made into Rugby League is for the four-year period 2017-2020 and is part of the new Sport England strategy ‘Towards an Active Nation’, which will see funding awarded to the Rugby Football League to support regular players by creating more opportunities to play in clubs and improving coaching. The funding will also help get more people playing at school and university level, as well as grow Rugby League variants like Touch Rugby League, Try Tag Rugby League and Wheelchair Rugby League.
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.”
Sport England set out a new strategy in 2016 ‘Towards an Active Nation’ in which National Governing Bodies were made aware that there would be a move away from previous ‘Whole Sport Plan’ settlements and instead would be required to bid for funding for the four-year period 2017-2020. The Rugby Football League 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.