By Phil Caplan, Date: 11/2/13

Following their AGM in Prague, the Czech Rugby League Association has announced an expanded domestic competition for 2013 with two divisions of five taking the field and increased junior participation.

The meeting saw the RFL send its first ever official observer with Graeme Sarjeant, a member of Red Hall’s legal department, attending as part of the European Union’s Governance Foundation Project which features senior RLEF governing bodies acting in a mentor capacity.

The CZRLA has overseen healthy progress in the last two years with Affiliate Membership of the RLEF achieved in 201, and the introduction of a Second Division in 2012 alongside the lengthening of the Czech First Division season. That progress will continue apace in 2013 with Second Division winners and runners-up Mikulov Roosters and Dragons Usti Nad Labem promoted and Prague moving down and a new side joining. In Brno.

“The 2013 CZRLA AGM produced several positive outcomes,” said national development manager Andy Mulhall. “”The most significant of which were the expansion of the First Division, the development of the Brno Associate club in readiness, both on and off field, to begin playing a competitive season in the Second Division and an indication that junior development is taking root not just amongst all 10 senior clubs, but also in several expansion areas around the country.”

“Despite the recent strides that the Czech Rugby League Association has made, it was reassuring to hear that they recognise the future challenges that they face and are realistic about providing for growth that is sustainable,” said Sarjeant. “Their current Board has an impressive range of expertise, but also demonstrated a desire to make the best use of all the local knowledge they have at their disposal with the assembly members. As such, there were positive contributions to the meeting from across the floor which stimulated some healthy debate.

The delegates also agreed the necessity of supporting the sport’s growing local footprint with capable coaches and referees and consequently agreed dates of the final coaching and match official courses of the RLEF Technical Strategy, which will see four Czech tutors attain their qualifications.

“There was also much positive news to come from the AGM in the form of communications and partnerships in progress,” continued Mulhall. “These are in relation to corporate sponsorships amongst the individual clubs, strategic cooperation, access to funding and logistical resources from the clubs’ local communities and their respective municipal representations.”