Date: 12/12/17

Native-born Michalis Chatziiannou from Greece and Italy’s Tiziano Franchini have become the first Level 2 qualified coaches and Level 1 coach educators to graduate from the part EU-funded RLEF technical programme, with several others close to completion.

In addition, New Zealander Kelly Rolleston from the Federazione Italiana Rugby League received the coaching qualification, while Andrew Pilkington of the Asociacion Española de Rugby League, Rugby League Ireland’s Paul Causby and James Spencer, and the Greek Rugby League Association’s Aris Dardamanis and George Stilianos all received the match official qualification.

“The technical education programme is now beginning to bear fruit,” said RLEF coach manager Martin Crick. “In the past, coaching has often relied on expatriates with past playing experience. Now, however, member nations are developing their own staff. The training of knowledgeable coach educators is a key development for the sport in Europe. Without it we cannot improve playing standards. Being able to deliver training in their own language will allow more people to access coach education.”

“It’s fantastic to see the demonstrable progress that has been made training local match officials across the federation over the last eight years,” said RLEF Match Officials Manager Tom Mather. “This is an excellent result for the diligent tutors, the dedicated local officials and the forward thinking federations. Technical education is at the heart of the RLEF strategy and this is just the beginning of national federations leading their own sport within a high quality and universal system.”

A group of Polish, Russian, Serbian, Czech and Spanish practitioners are also close to achieving the qualifications as the technical knowledge of rugby league in Europe deepens.