By Brian Lowe,
The US Association of Rugby League (USARL) Inc is one of a number of national governing bodies that will be attending this week’s Rugby League International Federation (RLIF) Congress meeting Thursday in Sydney and plans to table a proposal it regards as of particular importance to the Americas.
The Congress meeting is being held in conjunction with the inaugural World Cup 9s this coming weekend.
USARL Inc will be represented by chairman and director of coaching Peter Illfield and communications director Steve Williams, who will propose that the RLIF employ and place a permanent manager in the Americas.
Illfield says it’s a crucial appointment for the sport’s future in the Americas.
“It’s a critical time to reconcile the status of each country’s ability to be solid and sustainable in organisational structure and competitions,” he says.
“Commit to their obligations for an international agenda, expansion in participation levels (players, officials and coaches’ education and development) and be realistic in their strategies and amount of personnel and work it takes to promote, expand and be financially viable.
“Establish a vision, mission and strategy for the Americas.”
Illfield says they have also requested a meeting with NRL boss Todd Greenberg to discuss the potential expansion of the NRL’s brand in the US market in particular.
He says they believe there are several unique opportunities that may be of interest to the NRL to consider and stimulate further investigation.
“Some of the opportunities include WatchNRL – scaled commercial distribution (bars, casinos). Also, commercial viewers – areas to improve the NRL broadcast and the FoxLeague product for overseas audiences.
“Understanding Florida Sports Commissions and sporting grants and to establish a professional team to successfully engage the USA sporting landscape and promote/grow broadcast rights for NRL, Super League and international rugby league.”
Currently there are nine countries within the RLIF’s Americas membership including Canada, Jamaica, Trinidad & Tobago, United States, Mexico, Brazil, Argentina, Guyana and Chile.