Some News from Europe

From Various

Some sad news today with the passing of Hervé Guiraud, also the Parliamentary Rugby League group has been active in England while BARLA announce a new head coach.


From Phil Caplan

The RLEF has sent its condolences to the family of Hervé Guiraud, the Secretary General of the French Federation who died yesterday.

A former France international, M Guiraud was a board member of both the Rugby League European Federation and Rugby League International Federation and was a significant figure in the French game.

Chairman of the European Federation, Richard Lewis commented, “Herve was always such a gentleman whenever I met him. Very modest and unassuming but with a ready smile and sense of humour. His knowledge and love of Rugby League was immense and he could be relied upon to be great support at RLEF and RLIF meetings. He will be sadly missed”

RLEF General Manager Danny Kazandjian added his personal tribute. “It’s a bitterly sad day for rugby league. The sport has lost one of its most devoted servants and accomplished administrators. Hervé was the most genial of men, always so positive and personable, and I speak on behalf of the entire European rugby league family in expressing our heartfelt condolences to Hervé’s family and to the French Federation.”

Parliamentary Rugby League Group Visits Media City

From Mark Ramsdale

Officers of the Parliamentary Rugby League Group today visited Media City on Friday 30th March for a meeting with senior BBC executives to discuss the BBC’s coverage of the game on local and national radio and television.

This follows the Group’s campaign urging the to review its proposals sports coverage on local radio and was used to discuss how the sport can work with the BBC across all media formats.

Speaking after the meeting on the issue of local radio, Group Chairman Leeds North West MP Greg Mulholland said “BBC coverage of rugby league is crucial to the sport.  The BBC do a great job on television a d radio and it was very good to hear their ongoing commitment.

“We recognise the pressures the BBC is facing and we as sports fans want to ensure there is a sensible solution to this important issue rather than simply cutting coverage.   This was the first of many and I look forward to hearing the outcomes of meetings with the BBC and sports bodies, which are being led by the RFL.”

Vice-Chairman of the Group, Warrington South MP David Mowat added “when the Group saw the impact of the BBC’s proposals, we fought to ensure they weren’t implemented.  Now that the important decision has been taken pause and review options, it is up to us, the RFL and other sports to offer effective  alternative ways of working to ensure the outstanding level of service we are used to isn’t diminished.”

Barbara Slater, Director of BBC Sport, said “the BBC’s recent renewal of our Challenge Cup contract, plus our commitment to re-examine any potential changes to BBC Local Radio’s output, highlight the importance we place on our coverage of rugby league.  The Parliamentary Group recognises the current financial challenges the BBC faces, which is welcome news, but we look forward to working together to reflect the sport properly across the BBC”.

The Group also took the opportunity to visit the new facilities at Media City, including the RFL offices.  Lord Hoyle, Vice-Chairman of the Group gave his thoughts.  “Rugby league is a fantastic game and needs to be seen by as many people as possible, including those in the media.  With a base in Salford, I hope that those who take decisions on the game’s behalf see just how important our game and take note.  The RFL offices here will make that much easier to do and is a location befitting the sport of rugby league.”

Parliamentary Rugby League Group urge RBS to extend Bulls’ deadline

From Mark Ramsdale

The Chairman of the Parliamentary Rugby League Group has today written to the Chairman of RBS urging him to extend Bradford Bulls’ overdraft whilst the club is receiving overwhelming support from the rugby league community.

The letter from Greg Mulholland, the Member of Parliament for Leeds North West said that it was “with great dismay that Members of the Parliamentary Rugby League Group read of the RBS decision to reduce the Bradford Bulls overdraft facility.”  He went on to say that the reduction in overdraft “places the club in a dire position” which will “have huge ramifications for the city of Bradford and rugby league generally.”

Mulholland later went on to say “the response from Bulls fans and fans from around the country has been amazing and the whole rugby league family is doing what it can to save the club. The response so far shows that the money can be raised, so RBS should allow more time so this can happen to allow Bradford Bulls to carry on in Super League which is in everyone’s interests.”

“We in the Group represent all parties and a wide range of constituencies.  We are fans of the sport like anyone else.  The letter to Sir Philip today makes clear that the decision by RBS impacts more than just a commercial body, it has huge consequences.  The club is doing all it can to respond and I am sure will achieve what it needs to.  We have simply asked RBS to extend the overdraft until the club is back on its feet.”

The Bulls’ local MP and former Sports Minister Gerry Sutcliffe is a Member of the Parliamentary Group.  He added “The loss of Bradford Bulls would not only have huge impact on rugby league in this country and beyond, it will have a devastating effect on the people of Bradford.  Bradford has had a rugby league club in various guises since the formation of the Northern Union was formed. We cannot let it die with the stroke of a pen.”

“The Parliamentary Rugby League Group’s support is welcomed and I hope that a group of MPs and Peers will have influence on the decision.”


From Steve Manning

BARLA have appointed former Barrow Raiders Head Coach and BARLA Cumbria County Open Age Coach Paul Crarey as the Head Coach of BARLA and the Head Coach of the BARLA Great Britain Lions.

The appointment comes into immediate affect and is on the back of his success with the BARLA Great Britain Lions tour of Dubai last year when he was in charge of the side in the inaugural Test Match against Pakistan and the sides appearance in the Dubai 7’s.

Tony Spence the BARLA Yorkshire County Head Coach who assisted Paul in Dubai has also been appointed as Assistant head Coach of the BARLA Great Britain Lions.

BARLA Great Britain Internatiuonal Manager Mick Turner said

“I already knew what a very good coach Paul was from his deeds as Head Coach of the Cumbria who last year became the BARLA Three Counties Champions for the first time for four years.

“Whilst in Dubai I spoke to him on numerous occasions when he outlined his philosophies of coaching and his visions for the future and those qualities and previous experience led me to believe he should take on the role as Head Coach of BARLA and retain his role as Head Coach of BARLA Great Britain Lions with Tony Spence appionted as his Assistant Coach with the Lions.

“In the near future Paul will have a meeting with all the coaching staff within the BARLA International structure and explain were he wants to take the representative sides in the future.”

Paul Crarey,

“An opportunity to coach your Country at whatever level comes along once in a lifetime. To be appointed Head Coach of BARLA is a great honour. I cannot begin to tell you how proud I am.

“My whole life is dedicated to rugby league and this just shows that if you put your head down, work hard and dedicate yourself you can achieve your goals.

“At first it never sank in, but just think about it.  I now have the opportunity to work with some of the finest young men and athletes that our country produces.  The sport of rugby league surely is the “greatest game”  I want to build on the work of my predecessor John Fieldhouse and develop the Great Britain squad into something that is feared throughout the international community.

“Personally I would like to thank Mick Turner, Cumbria County and the BARLA international board for the support they have given me it has been second to none. I aim to work hard repay the faith they have shown in me.

“I am looking forward to building the squad that will play against South Sydney Rabbitoh’s Ambassadors in October. I will be out scouting through the summer along with the rest of our selectors.”

Tony Spence,

“I enjoyed working with Paul in Dubai last year during the Test against Pakistan which was a special moment in my coaching life and being involved with the squad for the seven’s tournament. The more we work together the better we will be as a team to take the Lions to greater heights in the world of rugby league.”


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