ERL Football

European Rugby League has issued its Annual Report for 2021 ahead of its annual council meeting, which takes place on Saturday 15October in Newcastle, ahead of the Rugby League World Cup opening ceremony.

“We’re looking forward to welcoming our members,” said ERL general manager, David Butler. “It will be the first face-to-face meeting since 2019 and we have missed the opportunity to have that in-person time together. We will also use the opportunity to reflect on 2022 to date and look ahead to what promises to be an exciting year in 2023.”

The report celebrates European Rugby League becoming the first sporting governing body in the world to receive a governance rating from the Sports Integrity Global Alliance, gaining a silver on the SIGA Independent Rating & Verification System (SIRVS), which was the result of a comprehensive series of audits and corrective action plans over a six-month period.

The award was part of a wider governance review, informed by the membership and focused on governing working groups made up of different classes of membership.

ERL led the return of the international rugby league following the global pandemic, staging its Euro B and Euro D men’s competitions, whilst it also coordinated a series of international fixtures in the men’s, women’s and wheelchair disciplines in the Autumn period.

Serbia led the way, playing four of their neighbouring Balkan nations, and several members improved their world rankings position.

The opening address by Graeme Thompson, writing as departing interim chairperson, laments the loss of the organisation’s chair, Maurice Watkins CBE, who sadly passed away in August 2021.

“Maurice’s reputation in the sports world was high and having him as our chair brought us credibility and the ability to develop new partnerships. His strong legal career provided great guidance on many matters, governance was another key area he led on,” Thompson notes.

“All our general managers benefited from his wisdom and mentoring, which was always delivered in such a supportive manner, and his board colleagues enjoyed the same and appreciated his kindness and the generosity of time he gave to everyone. Maurice will be remembered as a great servant to European Rugby League and is very much missed by us all.”

The European Rugby League Annual Report 2021 can be read in full here: