21 May 2014

The RLEF’s EU-backed Leadership Devolution Project, which started in January, reached London this week with delegates from the Czech Republic, Malta and Sweden participating in a day of presentations and knowledge-sharing workshops.

President Pavel Kubasta and David Lahr represented the Czech Rugby League Association, Ashley Brown and Paul Briggs Sweden Rugby League, and president Anthony Micallef - along with Clifford DeBattista and Sam Blyton - Malta Rugby League for the two day governance seminar, hosted by Sport England and the Rugby Football League.

DeBattista, who heads up Gozo RLFC in Malta, said: “It was very progressive. We learned how we can advance and how we should approach our organisation. The Sport England sessions were valuable on the formation of our federation, the various structures that entails, how to further our clubs and generally lift our standards.”

Hilary Milne, Sport England’s Head of Audit, Risk and Governance and Clare Barrell of UK Sport’s International Development Department delivered presentations to the delegates on governance, risk and collaborative partnerships.

Pavel Kubasta valued interacting with the other European delegates. “Clearly, everyone has a different approach to developing the sport and it was a good opportunity for us all to share our ideas and methods,” he said.

David Gent, the RFL’s Director of Participation and Strategic Partnerships and Darren Pugsley, South East club and competition manager outlined the governing bodies’ community strategy, using a case study of the East region. Each of the three nations then delivered a presentation on their own development and structure.

“I found the commitment and enthusiasm from the delegates very impressive and something they should be proud of,” said Pugsley. “If they continue to persevere and work hard to engage their stakeholders I’m confident they will grow a successful, sustainable game.”

The four nations will next combined in August when the Czech Repuiblic hosts the first of two coach-tutor activities. The EU is investing €195.000 into the 18-month project.