By Phil Caplan, Date: 3/9/12
The tenth RLEF Annual Council Meeting was held in London with 20 nations in attendance, the highest number on record.
Moroccoâ€™s new â€˜Federation Marocaine de Rugby Leagueâ€™ was accepted as an Observer while directors Graeme Thompson and Nebojsa Sretenovic, representing Scotland and Serbia respectively, were re-elected for a further two years on the Board and Brian Simpson MEP became the RLEFâ€™s first official ambassador.
Maurice Watkins CBE chaired the meeting at Brunel University. â€œMy first RLEF Council Meeting underlined what my short time with the Federation had already suggested; that rugby league in Europe and its affiliated territories is certainly making progress under the leadership of some extremely motivated and talented officials.,â€ he said.
â€œWe had a number of new nations attending their first Council meeting, I look forward to working with them.â€
Poland, Greece and Ghana were represented for the first time and used the occasion to network.
â€œIt was a great experience, a very well organised exchange of ideas and knowledge,â€ said Tasos Pantazidis, Chairman of the committee for the establishment of a Hellenic Rugby League Federation.
â€œAll this, will be very helpful in order to organise our development in a better way.â€
Despite rugby leagueâ€™s decades-long association with Morocco, there has never been an associated governing body in the country.
The government there recently changed its sports laws and the FMRL, supported by the French Federation, RLEF and Brian Simpson – who is interceding personally with the sports minister – will now seek an independently recognised federation.
The formal Council meeting was followed by the RLEF conference, now in its third year.
Commonwealth expansion in West Africa, the continuing progress of the RLEFâ€™s Technical Strategy and social media planning were topics covered by the guest speakers.
The attending nations were the Czech Republic (CZRLA), England (RFL), France (FFRXIII), Germany (RLD), Ireland (RLI), Italy (FIRL), Jamaica (JRLA), Lebanon (LRLF), Norway (RLN), Scotland (SRL), Serbia (SRLF), Ukraine (UFRL), Wales (WRL), Latvia (LRL), Malta (MRL), Netherlands (NRLB), Greece (GRLF), Hungary (HRLF), Morocco (FMRL) and Poland (PRL).