Often I read on various sources people complaining about this and that subject. In particular I pay most attention to the International Game, and how its image and exposure can be improved. Very often I have come across people that have great ideas, but seem not to take any initiative to try and get them off the ground. Sometimes if someone wants to support the international game or a nation its just a matter of literally putting your money where your mouth is. There are various membership packages out there that anyone can be involved with and help in a small way the development of the game internationally.
Also its the physical presence. I laugh sometimes when I read a person complaining about the state of the international game, or the crowd sizes of a game, yet when they have an opportunity to go and see the a game, they refuse to because its a small crowd or a poor team etc… It leads to a catch 22 situation then, a vicious feedback look that goes round, and round and round.
Anyway, I thought that for anyone who does want to help out the game in some small way, below are a few ways you can get involved in the international game from your lounge chair!
The Rugby League European Federation (RLEF) has a great package when it comes to membership, yes you read that right, you can be a member of the RLEF and get a whole bunch of stuff and help support the game and have it grow in Europe. There are three levels of membership that you can buy; regular, … and corporate.
Fan Membership: €30.00 – ₤23.76 – USD$37.53 – AUD$ 36.43
Club Membership: €60.00 – ₤47.55 – USD$75.07 – AUD$72.86
Corporate Membership: €120.00 ₤95.10 – USD$150.14 – AUD$145.72
Another great and unique initiative is the Rugby League Planet Development Fund. This is run by the guys over at the Rugby League Planet website. It is a buy in that members have about AUD$10 a month that goes into a centralized fund. Towards the end of August or early September each year the members then decide on which country they feel has done the most to deserve the money that has been collected. Then the whole process starts again and money is collected for the next 12 months and the money awarded.
This is an initiative that has now been going for a couple of years. the 2011 recipients were the Jamaicans while this years recipients were announced just last week, the Canadian Rugby League won that. As I understand it it is not limited to one country, it can be multiple if the funds are sufficient and countries warrant it. But that will only happen if there are members willing to put in the money to the fund.
Its an easy enough process, to become a member of the fund and set it up. Just go to the website to register. Its another way that an individual can have a contribution to the development of Rugby League Internationally.
Of course, you can help individually. This is an initiative of the part of you, the rugby league fan. There are plenty of nations and teams that have great membership packages, that offer merchandise and tickets to games. Have a search around for various websites of teams and see what is on offer. Several of the US teams have them as well as the Jamaicans have their annual sponsorship deals that are offered. The money certainly goes a long way to helping the nations get off their feet and develop.
If you are ever traveling abroad , make sure that you see what the local Rugby League is like. See if there are any games that you can go to and support, contact them and offer to volunteer and help them. It is always appreciated by struggling nations when they have people helping them, even if its for a day during a tournament of game.
I remember in 2007 when I was watching the Czech v Germany game in Prague, we had got a whole Kontiki tour or 18 year olds from Sydney to come and watch the game. Having a loud boisterous crowd, that knew what was happening that sounded like there was a thousand there, really made a huge difference for the players, they absolutely loved it and knew it was all worth it what they were doing. Its something that simple that can help.
Of course the best way to help the game grow internationally is to go out and actually watch the games. Pay the entry fee, buys the food and drinks, and show the RLIF and powers that be that International Rugby League is worth having and making competitive and not treat it like a second class citizen.
Make sure that you go to the World Cup, or a European Cup or Pacific cup, make sure that the stadium is full, it not only boosts that tournaments, but the players and nations and most important the image of the sport, that its fans care. Other sports have their biggest crowds for internationals, yet we always struggle. Forget performance, its all about national pride and supporting the game you love, that’s what it should be about.
So there you are, a few ways to get in there and support the international game… even from the comfort of your lunge chair!
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