President of the Russian Association of Rugby League is interviewed by Russian Weekly News program NARA TV. Taturyan’s speaks about some of the challenges Rugby League faces in Russia.
Edgard A. Taturyan’s interview to NARA TV (Weekly News program) Q = TV journalist A = Edgard A
Q: Today our special guest speaker is Mr. Edgard A. Taturyan, President of Russian Association of Rugby League Clubs www.rrlf.ru .The former Head Coach of Russia National RL Team and Soviet Union National RU Team. Mr. Taturyan, thank you very much for coming. I know that you are a very busy man. Congratulations of Russia’s victory vs Italy on September 8th! And my first question to you is as follows.
How many National Team players are from our Naro-Fominsk area?
A: Thank you for congratulations and invitation. There are 10 players in the team born and raised in this area. They are all most experienced players and leaders of the team. And one of the best today was Sergey Konstantinov named The Man of the matchÂ. He is Vereya Police Officer and plays RL on weekends.
Q: I wonder, is this really difficult to win in RL on International level? Is this the final result of your hard work on all levels of RL training beginning with the grass roots one with the kids?
A: Yes, sure. We invite 6-10 year old local kids, boys and girls, with their parents to our games and trainings. Just to touch RL ball and feel and enjoy the game first hand. And when they reach the age of 15-18 years, they are physically and mentally strong, and do not smoke, do not drink alcohol and do not use drugs. They have 3 training sessions a week in the evening time after their school, college or work.
For example, one of them is Misha Burlutsky, 17 years old who played for our National Team in RLWC Qualifiers last year vs Italy, Lebanon and Serbia. In other words, 16 year old Misha from Vereya (small town with population about 5,000 people) last year played against best professional NRL players from Australia with Italian/Lebaneese heritage. Can you believe that? Amateur Russian youngster was playing against Australian RL World Class players! No wonder that this year Misha was drafted by VVA-Monino RU many times Soviet/Russian Champion, and left his home town for Monino. Unfortunately, currently we have no money to pay our players. And some of them are leaving us and switching to Russian RU rich professional clubs.
Q: Edgard, how come that Naro-Fominsk region currently is the center of International RL matches in Russia?
A: Our enthusiasm and activity was morally and financially supported by Mr. Baranov, Head of Naro-Fominsk at the very beginning. Now we are moving slowly forward ourselves with the help of Mr. Alexey Morozov, our Vice President and local businessman. We want all local administrations and businessmen to contribute either financially or by transportation (school buses or vans) to help our kids travel for games and trainings and back for 10-30 kilometers within Naro-Fominsk area. Many kids give up playing RL because they have no transportation at all.
Q: What is your secret to turn RL beginner into the Russia National Team star?
A: No secret at all. Just love for RL, hard work and vast knowledge and experience. Our National Team players have started learning RL ABC’s with me when they were 7-8 year old. Currently they are working hard sharing their RL love, passion, knowledge and experience with kids. Now they all have their own families and kids. And have to work really hard to feed them. But anyway, find some time to train other children free of charge.
Q: How much are they paid as professional RL players?
A: Paid? Are you kidding? They are not paid at all. They are amateurs as I said before. And have to work for living.
Q: And our non-paid amateurs won vs paid professionals from Italy and Germany?
A: Yes, that’s right. It’s amazing. In Germany we had only 16 players and only 3 substitutions. Other experienced players like Sergey Konstantinov, The Man of the MatchÂ vs Italy were busy at work back home. But we won both games vs Germany and vs Italy with all of their Australians, French, English, etc. with Italian/German heritage. Most of them play in professional RL clubs in RL developed countries.
We have a couple of good RL players in Australia with Russian heritage. They were interested to play for us in these games.
But we have no money at all to pay for their airfare, meals and accommodation. So, they did not come from Australia to support us.
Q: Can you say a few words on this RLEF Tournament?
A: Edgard explained briefly and continued. Of course we need to develop further and reach the next higher level of RL countries in order to get Russian and foreign sponsors and money. We can do this only if we get support here in Russia from State bodies and private businesses. I should say that thank to the wins of our National Team RL became popular and beloved sport in Naro-Fominsk area.
There were many fans supported us at the stadium vs Italy. And we fight for them, for Vereya, Naro-Fominsk and for Russia. In this way we teach them to love RL and Russia to become real patriots of the game and our Motherland. Between you and me I tell you that my older experienced National Team players came to me crying and saying: Ã¢â‚¬Å“Thank you, Coach. This is the best support in our life we see today. We just could not loose, but win.
Q: And last, but not least question. How can Naro-Fominsk administration and business help you to promote and develop RL in the area?
A: They can help our children just for beginning and to provide/sponsor the balls, uniforms, transportation, school coaches, etc. And it will pay in the long run to raise healthy sport oriented strong young men, grateful citizens and patriots of the country.
Q: Thank you very much indeed for coming and sharing with us your wisdom, expertise and patriotism, Mr. Taturyan.
A: You are welcome. And thank you for the invitation and interesting questions.