With rugby league slowly growing in the Czech Republic, the RFL have sent their first ever representative to the Czech Rugby League Association’s annual general meeting – with Graeme Sarjeant, a member of Red Hall’s legal department the one to make the visit.
As a part of the European Union’s Governance Foundation Project, RLEF representatives act and govern in a mentoring role for their young, emerging rugby league counterparts, giving them every opportunity to grow and evolve as a rugby league nation.
With further growth but a mere formality to take place in the future, Sarjeant was excited to see a realistic approach by the Czech when it comes to rugby league, and is hoping that with the right guidance by the RLF, they can thrive long-term.
â€œDespite the recent strides that the Czech Rugby League Association has made, it was reassuring to hear that they recognise the future challenges that they face and are realistic about providing for growth that is sustainable,â€ said Sarjeant.
â€œTheir current Board has an impressive range of expertise, but also demonstrated a desire to make the best use of all the local knowledge they have at their disposal with the assembly members. As such, there were positive contributions to the meeting from across the floor which stimulated some healthy debate.
â€œHopefully this will be reflected in improved communication and accountability at all levels of the organisation in the future, and this will assist the Board to be even more effective. This, in turn, will then help the Czech Rugby League Association as a whole to build on their successes to date and fulfil the undoubted potential for the game of rugby league which exists in the Republic.â€
The CRLA have made significant progress since they first started their involvement in rugby league, gaining Affiliate Membership of the RLEF, as well as the recent introduction of a second division in their rugby league circles.
To further highlight their continued growth, their first division will expand to 5 teams in 2013, in a move that sees Prague move to the 2nd division and Mikulov Roosters and Dragons Usti Nad Labem both promoted.
National Development Manager Andy Mulhall made these very points, praising the Czech officials for their work in ensuring the continued growth of rugby league in the country.
â€œThe 2013 CZRLA AGM produced several positive outcomes,â€ said national development manager Andy Mulhall.
â€œ”The most significant of these were: the expansion of the 1st Division, the development of the Brno Associate club in readiness, both on and off field, to begin playing a competitive season in the 2nd Division in 2013; and an indication that junior development is taking root not just amongst all 10 senior clubs, but also in several expansion areas around the country.â€
In a further boost for Czech rugby league, and agreed to dates for the final coaching and match official courses of the RLEF Technical Strategy, which will result in four Czech tutors gaining their qualifications.
â€œThere was also much positive news to come from the AGM in the form of communications and partnerships in progress,â€ continued Mulhall.
â€œThese are in relation to corporate sponsorships amongst the individual clubs, strategic cooperation, access to funding and logistical resources from the clubsâ€™ local communities and their respective local municipal representations.â€