Rugby League World Cup 2013 Accelerator Program

By Daniel Andruczyk

A while back I was reading over some news from last year on the Lebanese website and was reading about the MENA championships last October I noticed something interesting in the last line of the third paragraph. There was a mention of a World Cup Accelerator Program “We welcome Latham Tawhai, to the Cedars ranks and look forward to his influence on our boys and his assistance in pushing them onto the next level, of our World Cup accelerator program. This of course aroused my curiosity. What is this program, it has not been advertised or talked about anywhere in the news wires so I started to ask some question with the qualifying countries and administrators that run the program.

What is it?

Even though there are similar schemes in other sports, the Rugby league accelerator program is not based on any of these and any resemblance to other schemes is only co-incidental. The RFL/RLEF/RLIF have provided funds and resources for the 7 nations that are involved in the World Cup Qualifiers. This is a great initiative to help ensure that each nation that wants to get the help will prepare them in the best way possible.

I talked to Tas Baitieri from the RLIF and asked what the initiative actually is. Tas said “the accelerator program is an assistance package with financial and man power support to the 7 countries involved in the qualification process. The RFL have a group handling this and identify guest coaches and align them to countries building a relationship there and also monitor progress”.

Though its not as easy as it sounds do get this assistance Tas went on to say “ Teams have to be at a certain level and demonstrate they are ready to be included in the qualification process and accept the conditions of engagement. These conditions are set targets which the RFL WC group monitor and follow up on”.

So in other words each country must apply to the RFL/RLIF with a set of criteria that they need. This can be say player development, coaching development or equipment. It could be money they request or kits or what ever the country needs. However, there has to be transparency with where the resources are used.

Who Has Taken It

I contacted Neil Wood, who is tasked with running the Accelerator Program, and asked him which countries are eligible “The Accelerator Programme is designed to allow teams involved in World Cup Qualification to get support for their preparation” he said and “All Qualifiers” are eligible for the program and went on to say that the support “… falls into three categories: Coaching Support, Domestic Development, Logistics”. Finally, Neil says “All support is targeted at players playing within the country in order to bring them up to the required level quicker”.

Talking with various heads of nations, these are the nations I know have taken up the Accelerator Program. Jamaica, Serbia, Russia, Italy and obviously Lebanon. I have not heard from the USA or South Africa if they have taken up the accelerator program.

Obviously, the resources that each nation has been given is not being divulged but I do understand that up to 10,000 pounds per nation has been offered. This is quite a significant amount. This corresponds to roughly $16,000 (AUD and US) and can go quite far in their preparation.

Speaking to Romeo Monteith from Jamaica when asked about the program said that they definitely applied and got support. It would be silly not apply for such help. Danny Kazandzjian from the RLEF said that “It assisted with the likes of Paul Broadbent joining Italy’s ranks;  Rob Powell and Latham Tawhai helping Lebanon”. He goes on to say “ Lee Crooks has been working with Serbia, and is now their technical director and Russia will be making a similar announcement soon”.

Danny went on further to say that “although it is a short term strategy it will leave a long-term legacy as RLIF and RLEF Members are being introduced to more professional technical preparation spanning two years, which will undoubtedly improve the relevant governing bodies”.

Great Initiative

Its great to finally see this kind of initiative taking place in Rugby League. Even though such programs of helping nations are not new in sport, certainly we have seen Rugby Union do this with their minnow nations in the past, its a new concept to Rugby League and I think a welcome and positive one. It can only be positive and a help as these nations that are fighting their way to the next tier of nations (basically along side France, Wales, PNG, Ireland, Scotland, Fiji, Tonga, Samoa, Cook Is) and competition. They will get access to world class coaching and better facilities and equipment. They can have proper training camps for their local players where they get the best coaching and they can integrate with any of their Overseas players much better.

In the end all it can mean is that we get the best World Cup qualifying tournaments with the two best teams winning through to play with the other 12 nations and provide us with the best Rugby League World Cup Fourteen and most successful World Cup in its 60 year history.

Daniel Andruczyk’s email:
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13 Responses to “Rugby League World Cup 2013 Accelerator Program”

  1. Donny Boy says:

    Great to see these nations being supported. I really cannot wait for 2013!

  2. Stu says:

    I love to hear news like this, when the governing bodies of our game get something right for the developing nations. A bit telling that the RFL is involved and not the NRL.

    • druzik says:

      Well it the RFL along with the RLIF?RLEF that is organising the World Cup, so not sure why the NRL would have to be involved.

      I would think that if the 2017 WC is in Aus again then it will be the NRL/ARL that organise something like this.

      Either way its a great sroty and for the love of me I dont know why this has not been promoted and talked about anywhere before… as soon as I heard about it I jumped on it to get info about it.

      • Stu says:

        No, my only point being that the two professional governing bodies (ie NRL & RFL) might share equal responsibilities for developing nations (regardless of where the RLWC is played). Dunno who funds the RLEF, but why is RSA and Lebanon any more the in interests of the RFL than the NRL?. And if the RFL are giving cash to Europe, RSA and Lebanon, what’s the NRL doing for PNG, Samoa, Tonga and Fiji?

      • druzik says:

        Ok so the way it works in Europe.

        Originally the RLEF was set up by the FFRXIII and RFL to help develop the code through Europe. The idea was to create a regional governing body that eventually will be independent and run the sport through the region. This they have been successful in that the RFL now longer funds the RLEF as I have been told. It has enough sponsors and outside revenue now to hold it own. The RFL now provides technical support like referees and coaches for nations.

        Lebanon and the Middle East at the moment fall under the European region so they have had support there. South Africa and the Pacific dont get support from any where else as I know. So you are correct in that the NRL does not do anything to provide support for the Pacific nation… actually they probably do more harm than good with some of their tactics to steal players. but that is another issue.

        The Accelerator money is money from the RLIF and World Cup than the RFL itself. The RFL is just handling the logistics of the Accelerator Program.

  3. International League says:

    I find it very strange that USA and South Africa have not taken it up. Especially SA who I would have thought struggled financially in RL.

    I still don’t know who I want to get though, I think Jamaica are showing why they deserve to be in it, and then I don’t mind who on the Euro side.

    • druzik says:

      Well at the time of writing I had not got responses back from SA and USA…. so I don’t know if South Africa have taken it or not.

      I have heard from several other sources …. not anyone in the AMNRL … that the USA have turned it down. Again I have heard it only second hand and so till I know otherwise treat that with a grain of salt. However, these mini camps they have had, would have benefited from such a program I would have guessed.

  4. dragons4eva says:

    Good on the RLEF and RLIF for doing this. If they can do this for as many nations as they can it would help the Rugby League community greatly!

    • druzik says:

      Well they are doing it just for the teams in the World Cup qualifiers.

      But id there were qualifications for regional tournaments like the European cup then I don’t see why teams couldn’t have something like this for that.

  5. Cheyne Maher says:

    Great news Druzik!!! Nice investigatory work too by yourself! If i am anything to go by you must have experienced a record number of hits since you insinuated that you had news re: the WC a couple of blogs ago, as i know i have been checking more regularly than my usual couple of times per week
    (more like a couple per day haha)! Worth the wait though and excellent news for IRL!

    In regards to who should help who, it is a tough one, but i reckon that the world can eventually be split into about 4-6 regions, with 2-3 regions each in two seperate “spheres”.

    These spheres could be split into two ways (both that essentially split the two strongholds of world RL, ie Australia/South Pacific and England/Europe).

    One obvious way would be to have a;

    Northern Hemisphere body, which would support nations from European, MENA (Middle-East and Northern Africa) and North Pacific (East Asia and North America) regions, and a

    Southern Hemisphere body which would support the South Pacific and South Atlantic (Southern Africa and any South American countries that jump on board) regions.

    THE way i would lean towards though is to split the “spheres” more along time zones, which also creates a more even split in total number of countries per sphere.

    How would this work?

    Firstly have a “EURO” SPHERE, which would incorporate a “Europe” region and a MEGA (Middle East and Greater Africa) region.

    Secondly we have an “OCEANIC” SPHERE which would incorporate a South Pacific region and an East Asian-Atlantic region.

    Eventually the East – Asian and Atlantic regions would seperate (when there is enough numbers in these regions) as would the “Middle East” and “Greater Africa” regions.

    Why do i lean this way???

    Because it means a country such as South Africa would fall into the European sphere, and the MEGA region, so they are not as isolated from other countries in their region, (which they kind of are currently).

    Instead of playing against the likes of USA, Jamaica, Canada and Japan, they would instead play against the likes of Lebanon, UAE, Morocco etc. This cuts down travel costs and also has them competing in the same time zone. If they were playing in a “MEGA” cup which was hosted for eg in Lebanon as opposed to an Atlantic Cup hosted in the USA, surely they would attract more viewers and interest in their homeland.

    The one dilema i have is where to draw the line between the middle east and east asia. Japan for eg would obviously fall into the east asia-atlantic region and therefore the oceanic sphere, while Lebanon would obviously fall into the middle east region and therefore the “EURO” sphere.

    But what about say Pakistan? Maybe the MEGA region could instead be called the “WAGA” (WESTERN ASIA AND GREATER AFRICA)??? This would then include the likes of Pakistan. Pakistan seem to use England as an alternate home for their cricket team and from my understanding their is a high EX-PAT Pakistani population in Great Brittain, so this also makes sense to have them in the Euro sphere.

    This ends up with approx 100 countries in each sphere! I have more on this idea but wont take up too much more space and plus should get back to work haha!!

    Once again great news ….thanks for doing the leg work to share this info mate!

  6. Chris Sanders says:

    And why should South Africa fall into the European Sphere and why should Lebanon fall into that category as well?
    They’re different parts of the world and no wonder these Nations struggle because they just don’t get a go unlike say Tonga,Samoa and the Cooks who seem to get all the favours.
    Those Pacific Island people seem able to play for 4 or 5 Nationalities while the others only get one poke of the dirty old stick.

  7. kepi jackson says:

    2017 rugby league world cup final should be held at eden park

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