Rugby League


7 Jun 2024

What’s the sporting vision?

What’s the sporting vision?

Rugby League joins collective call for political parties to support school and facilities in Election campaign

Tony Sutton, the Chief Executive of the RFL, has joined his counterparts at the England and Wales Cricket Board, the Football Association, the Lawn Tennis Association and the Rugby Football Union in sending an open letter to the UK’s political parties urging them to set out their vision for sport in the General Election campaign.

The letter - published below - sets out two priorities the five sports would like to see addressed: 1) the amount of quality Sport and Physical Education mandated within the National Curriculum; and 2) a commitment from political leaders to building on the progress that has been made recently through Government investment in good quality facilities.

Tony Sutton said: “The first eight days of June will show the depth and range of Rugby League’s impact – from the Wheelchair Challenge Cup Final in Sheffield last Saturday, to the four Finals at Wembley this weekend. They will include the second Women’s Challenge Cup Final at Wembley, and the annual highlight of the Year 7 Boys Final, this time featuring schools from Wigan and Cardiff, relishing the opportunity to play on Wembley’s grand stage.

“Rugby League will continue to deliver, and to make a positive social impact in areas where it is most needed – but as we stressed in the National Facilities Strategy published last month, we can only do that with continued Government recognition of sport’s unmatched ability to make a difference.”

Jodie Cunningham, the England Women captain who will again lead St Helens at Wembley in tomorrow’s Betfred Women’s Challenge Cup Final against Leeds Rhinos, added:

“I’ve been on an amazing journey with Rugby League, from starting a girls’ team at school in Warrington and then in the last decade from playing in park pitches with Thatto Heath to captaining Saints at Wembley.

“The number of girls we have wanting to play now is incredible – but the lack of suitable facilities can still be a big issue.

“And while I was lucky at school in terms of the support and time we had to do PE and sport, I know that’s the exception not the rule.

“Our sport can change lives – I want it to be able to do even more.”

Tom Halliwell OBE, the captain of England’s Wheelchair World Cup winners in 2022, said:

“Rugby League has had a massive positive impact on my life, from playing the running game at Kippax right through to captaining my country in a Wheelchair World Cup Final.

“I’ve seen it do the same for so many other players and volunteers, but with Rugby League usually being played in working-class communities, we struggle with facilities compared with other sports.”