Russia: A New Era in the East for Rugby League: Part 2

By Daniel Andruczyk

Today I continue with the second part of the Russian Rugby League story and look to  at how they are looking to grow the sport from the turmoil of 2008 and also how, if anyone wants to help them out and get in touch with them, can do so.

The Way Forward

With Russia having lost its benefactor and also its status in the sports ministry, it has meant that the financial resources have been very tight. However this means that new ways of finding the money to exist can be explored. The Russians have decided to take the approach of learning to fish, rather than just be given fish.

Russia has plans to tour this year out to Canada and possibly the United States while they will also be forming a dedicated Rugby League 9s Squad with the intention to have it tour the European 9s circuit. Russian will also be playing in the newly expanded and revamped European Shield tournament with Serbia, Italy and Germany also involved. This obviously means heavy financial backing and the Russian Rugby League are starting to sound out potential partners to finance these ventures. The RRL are looking to use their experience in Russian business to help new potential companies and businesses that want to establish themselves in Russia a way into the market. Thus the RRL is setting up a Business Introduction Service for all those who are involved with RL around the world. This service will keep companies abreast of political and market forces allowing companies to react quickly and instigate any change needed before any serious damage can be done to the companies profits. With this they would use sponsorship and payment to finance the sport. They are particularly looking to crate links with Asia and are looking to contact and make links with the new fledgling Asian Rugby League nations like Singapore, Thailand, India and Japan.

On the player front Russia is looking to expand its talent pool. Their recent World Cup Qualification campaign saw them take on the Italians, Serbians and Lebanese in the European group, and while defeating the Serbians, Russia with a fully domestic squad were easy picking for Italy’s and Lebanon’s heritage stacked teams.

This has forced the Russians to look to expand their search for players. They now are looking for heritage players that can play for them in the European Shield and also in the next World Cup Qualifiers and to compliment them they want to have their local players get more experience. Their online campaign of promotion has started to yield some results with Talent Scouts in Life Arena Sports starting to show interest in their players, who knows the potential for a couple to go out to Australia could be there. Two of their players were also invited by the RLEFs Eastern coordinator Julia Benison to play for 8 months at the Sharlston Rovers.

In the last week John Slade, who also is president of the Estonia Rugby League Federation, has also been brought onto the RRL board as their International Development Officer. John is looking to get more of the Russian Players to be placed within Clubs in Europe to gain more experience for the national competition and national team.

On top of this, recent developments between the Newcastle Knight in Australia and Fiji, by looking to establish an academy have also inspired the Russians to look to do something similar. They have contacted NRL and ESL clubs, but with no response yet.

The RLEF, though with limited resources have been able to help out a bit. During the 2011 World Cup qualifiers the Russians received the Accelerator Money to help develop their domestic players while the Head Coaches Stuart Wilkinson and John Stankevitch had their airfares and expenses covered by the RLEF. The RLEF also payed for 2 of Russia’s regional representatives Victor Krayev and Vladimir Kushnirchuk for a year to help develop the sport in the centre and south regions.

So with this, the way Russia is trying to generate outside and inside interest to help get the sport back on its feet financially. With planned Test Matches, the World Cup Qualifiers, Domestic competitions, PR and advertising, videos, TV, website, facebook and twitter campaigns as well as merchandising it is hoped that this will usher in a new era of Rugby League in Russia and finally help it establish a major presence in the Rugby League world. Anyone that is interested in helping out the Russian Rugby League, or want to get more information you can contact Victor Sapozhnikov on and also jump on the Russian Rugby League website .

With all this it looks like there is a new dawn for Russian Rugby League and the rise of the sport in Eastern Europe once more.

Russian Rugby League Seeking Sponsors

The Russian Rugby league is searching for sponsors to become an important part in the development of rugby league in Russia. There is a great opportunity to become the major sponsor of the Russian Rugby League team which will include sponsorship details featuring on the new Russian national team uniform.

As the major sponsor, you will not only gain the luxury of being the Russian Rugby League national team main jersey sponsor, but will also benefit from:

  • Your company name to become synonymous with the Russian Rugby League national team for the duration of your sponsorship period.
  • Your company logo along with a link to your website to be displayed as the major sponsor on the Russian Rugby League website.
  • Photos featuring the Russian Rugby League jersey to be posted on The Russian Rugby League website along with match videos.
  • A news article advertising the partnership between the two organizations to be presented on the Russian Rugby League website.
  • Your company to be advertised as the major sponsor of Russian Rugby League.

Due to the short time frame required for the sponsor logos to be included on the Russian Rugby League team uniform, all reasonable sponsorship offers will be considered.

Russian Rugby League has a number of sponsorship opportunities available, so if you would like to find out more about our existing sponsorship proposals please contact us:

Edgard A. Taturyan, President!

Sponsorship Proposal

Title Sponsor: Package: 16,000,000 rubles (400,000 euro)

Russian National Team Title Sponsor: 6,000,000 rubles (150,000 euro)

“Association of Rugby League Clubs”(ARLC) Title Sponsor: 10,000,000 rubles (250,000 euro)

  • Your Company Logo will be placed on the Russian RL National Team and Russian RL Clubs game shirts.
  • Your Company Name will become a synonym of the Russian RL National Team for the whole period of sponsorship.
  • Your Company Logo will be placed on ARLC website
  • Your Company will be advertised as the Title Sponsor of the Russian RL National Team at all ARLC games and events.
  • Your Company Logo will be placed on all printed ARLC materials such as booklets, diaries, posters and etc.
  • ARLC Logo can be used on your Company goods for sale.
  • Banners with Your Company Logo will be disposed at all RL games and events with the Russian RL National Team participation and at all ARLC games and events.
  • Your representatives can participate in all ARLC official events.
  • You can use the “Title Sponsor” name in your advertising campaigns.
  • Your representatives can attend Russian RL National Team official and friendly games and events.
  • Your company will be named the “Title Sponsor” in all media reports and interviews dedicated to the Russian RL National Team games and events.

Daniel Andruczyk’s email:
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21 Responses to “Russia: A New Era in the East for Rugby League: Part 2”

  1. Chris Sanders says:

    Are you going to do a feature on Russian Army Rugby League Daniel?

    • druzik says:

      If I can get information on them, yes, sure. I have been in touch with Dino, but since he is not involved with the Military Rugby League then he has limited information.

      From what Dino has told me, its actually not that wide spread and games are very sporadic at best, played on Russian holidays… which is no surprise really since their military is usually on station and getting time off is not the easy I would suspect.

  2. Chris Sanders says:

    I read something about it a long time ago and I will try and dig something about it up and we all know Daniel that it’s a irregular competition but it’s still spreading our game.

    • druzik says:

      It is a low level/quality game, its played sporadically at best and most of the players have never seen a rugby ball of any kind. Yes, its great the game is being played but for it to improve you need a regular competition and championship and players training with top coaches.

      Its that simple. Just having a few games here and there does not really do anything for the growth of the sport. Anyone knows that.

  3. dragons4eva says:

    I think the Russian story is one of running before walking. They focused too much on professionalism and not enough on local development and proper infrastructure! Now that they have re-evaluated themselves and put the resources in place where the game can develop at a reasonable rate the benefits are showing now!

    • Chris Sanders says:

      Similar to Masters Rugby League but it’s still creating awareness!

      • druzik says:

        I dont; think it does create that much awareness if there is no follow up on it. Awareness means you have a consistent regular season where fans and players are continually exposed to it, where media can jump on top.

        That’s what needs to happen. I have been told that the level at best is E-grade in Sydney and that its not spreading like wild fire but its more like puffing smoke.

    • druzik says:

      They still have a lot of work. At the moment the promo campaign is a bit disjointed and I have told them they need to get a clear concise promotional campaign set up, with a 10 page prospectus that outlines the sport and the benefits for sponsors coming on. Start doing things professionally.

  4. Chris Sanders says:

    You are right but I have been to some of these games in Russia before and it draws fair crowds and it’s the same standard as Masters because a lot of players there are between 35 to 45!
    It’s a broken down version of our game where there’s no heavy contact and of course it’s a irregular competition.
    Still better than nothin!!

    • druzik says:

      When , 10-15 years ago? Things have changed Chris, things in Russia need to be re-worked from the ground up. if everything you tell me is true, it sounds like Russia was basically a Pyramid scheme with no base.

      You last comment here strikes me as very odd… one of double standards. You are not willing to accepts any other form or type of rugby league, broken down or oz tag etc… in any other country like Aus or NZ, but you are more than willing to accept it here in Russia… just to help your points along… you are not consistent… as I have said before your comments are all over the place and you contradict yourself on a continual basis.

  5. Chris Sanders says:

    When I played Rugby League 40 years ago there were 15,500 registered players in the whole country and a further 10,000 players played pub football,services rugby league,mid week company RL between different work places such as freezing works,wharfies,Cops,Blackpower,NZ Post and also there use to be a social grade on a Sunday too that was very popular and I used to play there as well against Sonny Bill Williams Grandfather Bill Worseley at Victoria Park and have a beer with him after the game.
    However,those competitions did not come under the control of Auckland Rugby League as they refused to recognise it as competitive football but only social football.
    It’s the same as RRL.The Russia Army Rugby League doesn’t come under the control of the Russian Rugby League Federation.
    It’s totally different ball game as they run their own race.It’s got nothing to do with RRL.

    • Chris Sanders says:

      And you also hit the nail on the head Daniel!RRL was bascially a pyramid scheme,especially under Akhmet Kamaldinov,Elena Levina and Vladmir Dolgan,because if you weren’t part of their click you missed out all right.
      Kamaldinov was only involved in RRL to get rid of dirty money and to look good in front of his peers within the Kremlin.
      That’s why I am setting up my own Academmy in Russia now with Dino Vikas to get the grassroots going again.
      It has always been neglected and look at Wales as they are now the yardstick as there has been plenty of growth there in recent years.

      • druzik says:


        Well if you are setting up the academy, kudos to you and I think that is a good initiative there. But weather you like it or not you will need to get the RRL involved in the end. The military with full time professional soldiers will not be able to supplement that enough.

        In terms of the Pyramid scheme, I think Dino was/is a fan of Kamaldinov… and hopefully with the new RRL it wont be like that… we can only wait and see.

  6. Chris Sanders says:

    No he’s not because no one was a fan of Kamaldinov because he was false and not a genuine Rugby League person like you and I,both Cronulla-Sutherland people too!!
    Kamaldinov was only interested in himself and his cronies from abroad and I saw right through all of this bull… .
    Also girls and women will be involved in my academmy and in reguards to our game they are always the forgotten ones in these development programmes.
    Womens Rugby League is very strong in Kemerovo and Novokuznecks,2 towns in Central Siberia,very near the Rugby Union stronghold of Krasnoyarsk.It’s also strong in parts of Kazakhstan and John Stankevitch Facebooked me recently if he could be of some assistance in reguards to Russia and I will heed his advice as I find him very intelligent unlike a lot of Rugby League people with tunnel vision.Also Grahame West will give me and John Slade advice in this area of the game too!
    I am ploughing $10,000(US)to get this project off the ground in the next couple of months and Dino Vikas is my right hand man in Russia.
    After all he’s a Qualified Australian level 3 Coach as well an International Rugby League referee.

    • druzik says:

      As I said, I hope the academy is a success.

      Thats is the kind of initiatives that are needed…. But don’t burn bridges Chris, work with people… and realise not everyone will agree with you so don’t get angry when they don’t.

  7. Chris Sanders says:

    Dino Vikas can do the job and so can Victor Kotun but Victor Korev can’t!
    I know who’s capable and who’s not.
    My Academmy will be separate from the RRL because they won’t show the colur of any money and unless someone comes in and show me the colour of their money,then they will have no say in how it’s run.

  8. Chris Sanders says:

    We have to work for it as people won’t throw money at us!We will charge a small levy on the players,as both Victor Korev and Dino Vikas,are good business minded people.
    It won’t be easy and I trying to get others to come on board too!
    We are trying to work from the base up!!
    Singapore Rugby League have asked me to come on board,but we are all trying to save a game in Russia now,which won’t be at all easy,because of the many obstacles in the way which resembles a mine field!!
    If we can’t,people cannot accuse us of not trying to help out,but 99.9% of all the RL people out there,want to see it all fail,because they all want to say”told you so”.
    That’s how negative our game has become and it will be nice to prove them all wrong!

  9. russiantragic says:

    Investing in Russian RL … hasn’t anyone asked of the early Taturyan involvement?

    • druzik says:

      I think he is involved.

      • russiantragic says:

        I too had the best interests in the RRL from the early-mid 90s but was limited in any assistance to their time at the Sydney Sevens tournaments and some provision of kit/gear from the ARL Academy. This due to northern hemisphere (England) control. However funding laundering, faction infighting & empire building were more important to the russian parties involved.
        Tas Baiteri has been a strong supporter of the russia game and was instrumental in arranging Tim Sheens’ & my involvement in the Russians’ RLWC 2006 qualifiers vs Lebanon & Ireland in Moscow/London.
        This led to Tim’s identification & offer to Roman Ovchinikov to trial with the Tigers in 07.
        There was much smoke and mirrors during Evgeny Klebanov’ reign to confidently commit to any investment or future in the russian game.

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