15th February 2019, 13:28 | Community
The Sports Minister Mims Davies set out her priorities in a wide-ranging speech at the launch of UK Sport's new funding strategy this week.
The Minister covered areas of direct focus to Rugby League and which form part of the RFL Strategy.
Ralph Rimmer, Rugby Football League CEO responds to the speech.
"The Minister's commitment to the wider outcomes from sport are key to a greater understanding across Government about what regular sport, and sporting major events, deliver for people, communities and the country.
"I welcome her comments on the importance of school sport. This is vital to achieving a healthier and happier nation, and to the pathway for professional players who go onto delight and inspire us playing for club and country. As many young people play rugby league in schools as in clubs; and where there is pressure on the availability of pitches, the facilities at many schools could be put to greater use outside of school hours and in holiday times.
"The Rugby Football League fully endorses her objective of making physical literacy as important as reading, writing and numeracy. Making this real requires a renewed commitment to Government investment in school sport; it is not something NGBs alone can achieve and the plans for a 'cross-government approach' to school sport are very welcome.
"Aspiration in sport, and the inspiration of elite athletes, goes beyond Olympic sports - it includes all England teams and Rugby League certainly meets the Minister's objective of supporting athletes from all backgrounds, including less advantaged communities, to reach the pinnacle of their sport. This should be recognised.
"We echo her commitment to inclusion in sport and pledge to continue to play a leading role in ensuring that our sport is for everyone with more exciting developments in women's and girls' rugby league and all formats of disability rugby league. As Mims Davies said, 'there should be no barriers to taking part'. The Minister has also challenged broadcasters and other media, and sports, about the coverage of women’s sport. Visibility of women’s sport, and disability sport, is vital. We understand that. We are working hard to bring more rugby league to wider audiences, and in our sport as with other sports, there is much more to do.
"The Government's commitment to major sporting events is welcomed across the sector. The RLWC2021 will be the nation’s biggest event in 2021, and benefits from strong support from Sport England, UK Sport, DCMS and the Northern Powerhouse Minister.
"The Minister rightly highlights the need to deal with issues in sport - including on occasion the behaviours of players, fans, even parents which put young people off sport and undermine the huge positives that come from playing and being part of sport. The 'Enjoy the Game' campaign across rugby league will do that - it needs everyone in the sport to get behind it. All of us who love the sport want positive, welcoming, touchlines and terraces.
"My team and I will continue to work with government, funding partners and a range of stakeholders to make the strongest possible case for the unique role that rugby league plays in delivering physical and mental health outcomes; community and individual benefits; engaging regional, national and international events and an outstanding, inclusive pathway for talented athletes."
The Sports Minister’s speech - WATCH HERE
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