By Phil Caplan, Date: 11/3/13
A three-man RLEF delegation has returned from Brussels after a meeting hosted by Brian Simpson MEP, the chair of the European Parliamentâ€™s Transport and Tourism Committee.
Present was a representative of Androula Vassiliou, the Commissioner for Education, Culture, Multilingualism and Youth and it included a briefing on the RLEFâ€™s engagement with the European Commission to date; the development of trans-national technical qualifications and training in rugby league; volunteering; and the ECâ€™s priorities in sports policy.
“The meeting was very useful in appraising the Commission of the work being done throughout the European Union by the Rugby League European Federation, especially in the area of coaching and match officials development,â€ commented Simpson, who is also the RLEFâ€™s official ambassador. â€œIt will foster a closer co-operation between the EU and our sport which I firmly believe will be of great benefit to both parties.”
The RLEF delegation was led by chairman Maurice Watkins, who was accompanied by Niel Wood and Danny Kazandjian. The EC was represented by Zenon Severis, a member of the Commissionerâ€™s cabinet.
â€œThe importance of RLEF engagement with the European Commission cannot be understated,â€ said Watkins. â€œOur diverse activities and programmes all contribute to an increasingly multinational European rugby league organisation, and the expertise and guidance available from the Sport Unit is an invaluable resource in supporting our growth. It was pleasing to hear that the Directorate General for Education is keen to interact with rugby league to learn from our experiences too.â€
Zenon Severis confirmed the value of the get together. â€œIt was a great opportunity to hear more about the development of the RLEF, to discuss the impact of the EU-funded project in which they are involved but also to touch upon issues related to EU policy in the field of sport more generally. Such meetings with stakeholders are always insightful and useful in finding out more about the challenges that the RLEF faces and also the opportunities that present themselves for closer cooperation.â€