Date: 29/9/17

The Federazione Italiana Rugby League has hosted both a Level 2 coaching and match officials course in tandem, in Catania, Sicily It was attended by delegates from England, Sweden, Greece and Spain, with RLEF coaching manager Martin Crick and match official tutor Danny McNeice overseeing the activities which took place under the auspices of the EU part-funded training and education portal project.

“The roll-out of the new level 2 coaching course continued with a very successful get together, augmented by young players from the local club here,” said Crick. “We spent four days of intense hard work in the shadow of Mount Etna. Earnest, heated debate was a feature and, as a result, coaching and playing standards across the continent are improving.”

McNeice added: “The educators from Greece, Spain, Sweden and Italy demonstrated enormous enthusiasm, talent and drive.”

Guido Bonatti from Italy, Sweden’s Raj Shah, Spain’s Andrew Pilkington and Tony Palacios, and Greece’s Jim Minadakis, George Stilianos and Aris Dardamanis all participated in the match official element, alongside other Italian level 1 officials.

“It was very beneficial for our growth as match officials,” noted Dardamanis. “In particular the opportunity to enter into more technical debate with colleagues was a new challenge that we perhaps don’t see at level 1, while having the coaches’ course run concurrently meant we had direct access to a group that perhaps needed our guidance on how a particular area of the game would be managed.”

Tiziano Franchini led the Italian coaching contingent, alongside Spain’s Aitor Davila and two new educator trainees Salvador Ramon de Pablo and Javier Vergara Cabo, together with Greek trio Michalis Chatziioanou, Nikolaos Chatzinikolaou and Vasilios Lampadochytos. Sicilian Salvatore Pezzano was added to the educator training programme.

Chatziioanou said: “All candidates and deliverers were very keen to learn and coach. The involvement of all in the class meant some great debates and conclusions. All the candidates now have greater tools to develop rugby league back in their country in a better, more competent way.”

The TEP is a three-year, €723.000 investment into capacity building through good governance and technical training, funded by €466.000 from the EU’s Erasmus+ project and the remainder from the RLIF and five of its full members. It is intended to build the knowledge and skills of the RLEF’s 21 European members, divided into six regional clusters, through high quality training and mentoring, while granting opportunities to share experiences amongst fellow Europeans dedicated to rugby league development.