In a boost for Rugby League, Sport England will pump £10.75m into the sport to help grow and sustain participation for the four-year period 2017-2020.
It is part of the new Sport England strategy ‘Towards an Active Nation’ with the funding set to support regular players, create more opportunities to play in clubs, improving coaching and get more people playing at school and university level.
The Rugby Football League will also use the funding to grow Rugby League variants like Touch Rugby League, Try Tag Rugby League and Wheelchair RL.
RFL Chief Executive Nigel Wood said: “The Rugby Football League appreciates all of the public funding that has come into the sport. The investment from Sport England will assist us in supporting and growing areas that have a strong Rugby League player base and will enable the Rugby Football League to focus on enabling more people to keep playing the sport they love.
“We understand the need to create new funding streams into all levels of the game if we are to truly maximise the opportunity of hosting the Rugby League World Cup in 2021 and like all sports organisations, the Rugby Football League is working hard to reduce reliance on public investment. We have already embarked on a sport-wide transformation with new digital systems and processes which build on strong league and competition management and improvements in player retention.
“We are in a good position to continue to move the sport forward, particularly having also secured significant external investment through our Sky Try campaign, which has committed £2m per year until 2021 and which will enable more than 100,000 children to play the sport in the first 18 months of the programme.”
Sport England set out a new strategy in 2016 ‘Towards an Active Nation’ in which National Governing Bodies would be required to bid for funding for the four-year period 2017-2020.
The RFL was advised by Sport England that it would initially be able to bid for an award of between £9m and £11m and was informed today it would receive 97% of the maximum available to it, £10.75m.
In addition to this, the Rugby Football League is able to bid into other Sport England funding streams including volunteering, and work is underway to do this.