Rugby League


Sustainable practice and development across social, economic and environmental considerations


The RFL is committed to sustainable practice and development across all three pillars of sustainability: social; economic; and environmental.

Rugby League is more than ‘just a sport’. Its social impact – health outcomes, crime reduction, improved education and employment outcomes, volunteering opportunities and improved life satisfaction – is estimated at £185million per year. Through its policies, practices and relationships with partners, the RFL will continue to promote and enhance the social impact of Rugby League. 

During 2020 clubs, players, foundations and volunteers demonstrated their pivotal contribution to Rugby League’s social impact. They also contribute enormously to the annual economic impact of Rugby League, which exceeds £140million across the game’s heartlands. This income cannot be taken for granted. In 2020 the RFL moved quickly on behalf of the whole game to secure government loans to protect the sport’s immediate future. As we begin to emerge from the pandemic, the RFL will play a lead role in sustainable business planning within the game.

In 2020 we celebrated 125 years of Rugby League. We also reflected on how we should recast Rugby League for the next 125 years. Climate change and associated extreme weather events are already affecting sports in this country, and environmental sustainability is fundamental. 

The RFL’s impending move to Manchester’s Etihad Campus offers both a challenge and an opportunity. The challenge will be to live up to the standards and ambitions of our new neighbours; the opportunity is to set new environmental standards for the game as a whole.

Environmental sustainability will be at the heart of the decisions we make and the action we take. We will reduce the environmental impact of our activities and encourage our partners – including clubs at all levels of the game – to embed environmental sustainability within their own activities. 

We are already working with Manchester-based organisations to understand our responsibilities and improve our practices. In recognising our environmental responsibilities now, we can look forward with confidence to another 125 years of Rugby League.