Rugby league now has: “All the elements to make a massive leap forward in Ukraine,” according to Ukrainian Rugby League Federation (UFRL) president Artur Martyrosyan.
The positive noises are the result of the sport’s inclusion in the ‘Unified Sports Classification’ list controlled by the ministry of sport, and follow January’s permission for rugby league to form part of the government sport school curriculum.
“It’s a very significant success for rugby league,” continued Martyrosyan. “We now have every element of a major national sport and we can expect a big leap in participation throughout the country.”
“This is one of the most important things that has happened to the UFRL: we received official recognition in 2012, created and lodged a study programme in 2013 and now have the classification.”
It means that players and coaches will be recognised for their achievements with five distinctions that define their aptitude and experience which are also linked to pay-scales in the sports industry, making involvement in rugby league a more attractive proposition.
The UFRL will now begin a project to invite potential leaders from ten target cities – Kiev, Lviv, Rivne, Khmel`nyc`kyy, Uzhgorod, Irpin, Dnipropetrovs`k, Odessa, Mikolaiv and Dneip – to a series of education seminars in Kharkov.
They will deliver match official and coach education programmes and begin local development at junior and senior level.
The next phase of the project will be for the current second division clubs to become part of an expanded first division while the new cities form either regional competitions or a national second division.
At the end of 2014 the UFRL, which received government funding last year for the first time, will submit its annual dossier to the sports ministry in a bid to increase its funding in line with its expanded operations and, crucially, its official status.
Next week sees the recommencement of the Ukrainian championship with Crimean clubs Simferopol and Sevastopol travelling to Krivoy Rog.