The Rugby League European Federation has received its second successful European Commission grant application this year, with the news that the Sports Unit in Brussels has granted it €104,000 for its ‘Governance Foundation Project’.
The project is aimed at strengthening good governance throughout the sport’s burgeoning number of national governing bodies throughout Europe, ensuring they are running themselves in a democratic, efficient, transparent and equitable manner.
Uniquely, it sees England, Scotland, Wales, Ireland and France acting as mentors to the Czech Rugby League Association, Rugby League Deutschland, Sweden Rugby League, the Latvian Rugby League and the Federazione Italiana Rugby League. The partners will collaborate on a series of projects aimed at strengthening best practice, including liaising with professional football organizations on the Continent to exchange ideas and methods.
RLEF General Manager Danny Kazandjian welcomed the successful bid. “It is excellent news that the Federation has been able to access such funding,” he said. “Our administration is now showing its ability to widen the sport’s revenue streams and materially supporting our members while – at the same time – focusing on an area which is of critical importance. The better our members’ governance practice becomes, the more efficient and productive they will be and also reducing the unhealthy spectre of schism, which has characterised the sport historically.”
This latest grant adds to the RLEF’s most productive financial year since its formation in 2003. The value of the European Cup was doubled by Alitalia recently and the ‘Technical Strategy’ received two grants, one from the EC UK office and another from the Leonardo da Vinci fund in the summer, amounting to €75,000 Euros.
Last week UK Sport International confirmed a grant for the Jamaican Rugby League Association, brokered by the RLEF, to support the JRLA’s expansion into Montego Bay, and UKSI are also in talks with the RLEF on a groundbreaking West African development.
After nearly fifteen years in the making, the USA Tomahawks’ 40-4 win over Jamaica to qualify for the 2013 Rugby League Word Cup stands as their biggest achievement.
Head coach Matt Elliott said it is well-deserved for the guys who have put so many hours working on American Rugby League to finally make the world stage, “There’s been some tough defeats and some near misses,” he said. “I think the first thing to do is to recognize what everyone did prior to this.”
“We were just patient, we knew we had to go through our process. Tough for Jamaica, they had to play on Wednesday. We always felt that we’d have more energy. I don’t think the score was representative of how close the match was and how physical the game was.”
Long-time Tomahawk and USA captain, Jacksonville’s Apple Pope, rated the win as his most enjoyable yet, “This is the best one of them all. It’s one that gets us into the World Cup,” he joyfully noted.
“We wore them down in the second half the gaps started to open up and we had the skill and the speed to get over the try line.”
After spending twelve days in camp with the squad, the Florida native praised his teammates as the best he’s played with, “Both in playing ability, in strength and speed, in class and everything, it’s a top notch group here, the coaches did a great job in putting the guys together.”
As for Jamaica, Head Coach Dean Thomas attributed the loss to the poor completion rate in the second half, “At half time it was a tight game, we managed to complete 18 sets out of 20,” he noted.
“We turned them around well. We came out in the second half and lost three or four players to injury straight away. That meant we only had one rotation on the bench and then we only completed fifty percent and you just can’t do that,” he said.
Rugby’s reggae boys have plans for more development in the near future. “The next step is to try and find as much resource as we can to look after the game in Jamaica,” Thomas added.
“We have a number of guys who play with Jamaican heritage, they have now learned what it means to be Jamaican and to play for Jamaica and they’ll want to try and support the programme on the island and give something back.”
Matt Elliott encouraged the Jamaicans to keep persisting. “They’re probably going through the same process as the USA did. They deserve a heap of credit, the whole coaching staff and all the players,” he said.
The Axemen will be donating 100% of the proceeds from the raffle that will be held at the Short Film Fest this Wednesday towards the effort to save sports in the Duval County schools. Axe Maiden Cheerleaders will be on site at the film fest selling $1 Raffle Tickets for some great prizes
“The future of all sports, and life in general, lays in the Youth”, said Spinner Howland. “Sports do so much for school aged kids. Sure the initial thoughts are towards health and exercise, and that in itself is reason enough to support this effort, but there is a lot more than the physical advantages happening. It is a release for some, a savior for others, and a way to gain social interaction that may not be available elsewhere. And even more importantly, it allow students to work as a team with people they often don’t know, to achieve a goal. This is very much like the adult world where co-workers are your teammates on projects. Sports is more than just a game and so much is gained from participating.”
Although Rugby is not a sport played in Duval schools, the Axemen have had players from a variety of sports that have prepared them for the rigors of such a tough game, and they are excited to be able to do a small part in the effort to save as many sports as possible in the Jacksonville area.
The Axemen will be offering 2 prizes for the $1 raffle and 100% of the proceeds will go to the effort to save school sports.
– A Replica Axemen Jersey and a four-pack of tickets to all 3 games of the Rugby League Atlantic Cup
– Group of 6 in the VIP Suite at one of the games of the Rugby League Atlantic Cup. Package includes entry to the VIP/Sponsor Suite at the top of Hodges Stadium with all Beer, Wine and Food provided. (The winner can select any one of the three games to use this package)
The Film Fest and Fundraiser info
Where – 5 Points Theater (1022 Park Street, Jacksonville, FL)
When – Wednesday, October 26th.
Time – Doors Open at 6pm – films start at 6.30pm sharp
Cost – $5 at the door
Fundraiser Raffle – $1 tickets on sale at the door with 100% of the proceeds being donated to the chosen charity
Axemen Head Coach, Spinner Howland, will make his big screen debut this coming Wednesday when the short film, “Kar Karma” is premiered at the Five Points Theater in Jacksonville. The Axemen will also be hosting a raffle at the event to help raise money for a local charity, something they have done at almost every event that they are apart of over the past 6 years.
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