Rugby League European Federation chairman Maurice Watkins CBE, has hailed the continued progress of the organisation, with the publication of its annual report.
Watkins, Joint Senior Partner in a prominent law firm and former Director of Manchester United among a host of other top level sporting roles, became RLEF chairman in August 2012.
“The sport is on the threshold of one of the most significant periods in its international history,” he said, “a period in which the RLEF is positioned to play a major part.”
He continued: “The RLEF’s fundamental role – to develop the sport in Europe and the surrounding territories that temporarily fall under our jurisdiction – has never been more important than it is now, with rugby league keen to broaden its global footprint while understanding the need to do so in a sustainable and efficient manner.”
“Another major part of our work is cultivating our European dimension; fuelling our drive to become an increasingly European organisation, with European perspective, vision and leadership,” he added.
“The RLEF has been fully involved in major strategic initiatives under the RLIF’s aegis, including rugby league’s bid for membership of SportAccord, the global governing body for Olympic and non-Olympic international federations; and our continuing and strengthening relationship with the Commonwealth
Last year, a total of 59 non-World Cup matches were played involving national representative teams while the RLEF currently has a total of 35 full, affiliate, observer or unranked members.
Watkins concluded: “We should all be encouraged about the state of the sport in Europe and beyond. Unequivocally, more nations and more people are playing the sport, and our mission is to ensure that our members’ governments recognise their national governing rugby league association or federation.”
“Following the World Cup, the RLEF is in the unprecedented position of being able to plan years ahead, and faced with that reality I am convinced that the RLEF will continue to develop and grow, both centrally and through its constituent parts, to the greater benefit of the sport.”
Full details of the RLEF Annual Report can be found here – http://www.rlef.eu.com/_uploads/RLEF%202013%20Annual%20Report_opt.pdf