By Phil Caplan, Date: 30/11/12
Serbian rugby league is celebrating the crowning of their youth champions and the expansion of interest in the country into a new area, with the addition of a police rugby league programme.
That follows from the â€˜2009-2013 Strategy for Sports Developmentâ€™ issued by the Serbian Ministry of Youth and Sport and is the result of an initiative begun in February when Tibor Visi, a player and a serving policeman in the Belgrade elite unit â€œ92â€, officially formed the Police Rugby League Club.
That prompted interest from other Belgrade Police units and, in mid-October, with the support of the Serbian Rugby League Federation, RLC Police started training.
In mid-November Ian Seabridge, President of the Great Britain Police Rugby League, visited the Serbian capital to discuss a Lancashire Police Rugby League visit in May 2013.
Tibor Visi commented, â€œLancashire Policeâ€™s visit next year is a great opportunity for us to show the Serbian Interior Ministry and Ministry of Youth and Sport what huge promotion and development the Serbian Rugby League Federation has done following the guidelines set out in the strategy.â€
In the meantime, Rugby League Club Police made its competitive debut this week with a game versus the Serbian Military Academy. The much more experienced servicemen won 20-12, but RLC Police gave notice of their potential.
RLC Radnicki from Nova Pazova won the Serbian Rugby League U18 Grand Final at FC Radnicki football stadium. Six clubs took part in the U18 Championship and victory secured a notable double for Radniki.
Like in the Cup Final, they triumphed over RLC Soko from Vranje, winning a terrific contest 18-16.
Branko Bursac, President of RLC Radnicki and a Serbian Rugby League Federation Board member said, â€œWe did it again. It was very hard like last time in the Cup but a home venue and support from the crowd gave us the strength to win. I congratulate our opponents from Vranje because they showed that they are future of rugby league in Serbia.â€
Jovan Vujosevic, Rugby League European Federation Regional Director for Central and East Europe added, â€œThis is second year that Serbian Rugby League has organized an U18 Championship, with more clubs, and without this and U16 competitions there is no future and development of the game in Serbia. I estimate that this competition will produce between 30 and 50 new open age players in 2013.â€