RLEF liaise with members on all matters of structure and governance-Danny Kazandjian

Image Credit: www.rlif.com

The Rugby League European Federation is the governing body for Rugby League in Europe and the Northern Hemisphere. It oversees and co-ordinates the development of the sport in all its Member and affiliated countries and territories. Danny Kazandjian, the General Manager and Official Spokesperson of the Organisation spoke with us on challenges, key strategies and monitoring system.

Recent challenges and upcoming goals; how is RLEF achieving these goals?

Funding an ever-expanding and active membership is always an issue. Constant governance oversight is at the forefront of what we do as solid governance is our guarantor of cultivating robust member organisations that are capable of withstanding the stresses involved with a growing sporting organisation. We are in the last two years of our eight-year strategy and are at the early stages of writing our new 2018-25 strategy. Organisational goals will be defined within that new strategy.

Currently RLEF has 11 full members, 9 affiliate and 14 Observers. The differences between the three categories; countries from the two lesser categories which can make to the full members list…

Full details of member categories are available on www.rlif.com or www.rlef.eu.com > RLEF > Membership. Spain, Italy and Czech Republic could all be Full Member in 2-3 years. Belgium, Ghana and Netherlands are the two most likely Observers to progress to Affiliate Membership status.

Prerequisites for the candidature of member associations under different categories…

Please refer to the member policy details by following above links. In short, participation and capacity demands increase between categories.

How does RLEF ensure that the organization is well on course with the three key focus areas listed? How far has the organization moved forward on achieving these?

We run an Annual Membership Audit which covers governance, financial reporting, domestic and international participation, technical structures and strategic self-review. Our own and our members’ results are logged and analyzed as part of that AMA. In 2014 we reported on the halfway results of the strategy. These are as follows:
– Eighteen countries now have domestic championships compared with 12 in 2010
– Eleven nations have government recognition, compared with seven in 2010
– There are eleven Full Members compared with five in 2010; eight Affiliates compared with five and 12 Observers compared with eight {this number has now increased, as you note above)
– Prior to 2010, the RLEF had not raised any external funding. This compares with €525.000 accrued from 2010-13 (this number is now over €1 million, with €890.000 from the EU alone)
– 16 coach and 14 match official tutors have been trained and qualified by the RLEF and are currently delivering Level 1 courses throughout the Federation

Monitoring the infrastructure, facilities & support system in all the member regions…
The AMA is the main component in insuring this. RLEF staff liaise with members on all matters of structure and governance.  We have three Regional Directors: one in Beirut, running Middle East Africa; one in Belgrade, running east and central Europe; and one in Kingston, running the Caribbean (and recently, the fledgling S. American nations).

How does RLEF ensure adequate pool of technical officials, member association managers, coaches and supporting staff? How successful are the development programs related to these plus Youth Rugby and how can we rate these programs on continental base?

One of our key areas is the technical field: coaching and match officiating. With the sport expanding so rapidly it’s very important to ensure that the highest standards are maintained. Our mission is to empower locals while ensuring that they understand their responsibilities to the sport. Since 2011 we have been educating local trainers to operate as educators, entitled to train and qualify level 1 practitioners in their countries. This year we began implementing our new, enhanced technical education system, based around our Technical Portal (fully operational in August) which is one of the largest pieces of reform in European rugby league history. We are increasing our suite of courses from four to 10 (including introducing Level 2 and Level 2 Educator, as well as a Tutor rating), and implementing a robust mentor and evaluation system that ensures quality control, makes an abundance of resources available to new graduates and cultivates a support network between Europe’s growing corps of technical leaders.
The new system is built around six regional clusters, with each one led by a senior Full Member. They have the greatest experience, talent and capacity to lead. Each cluster also contains a Leader nation and 1-2 Learner nations. This collection of varying standards ensures multi-directional learning.

Parameters of annual membership audit…

It is fairly extensive and has expanded every year, since we introduced it in 2011. It is an important governance and compliance tool, especially given the need for strict vetting of Full Member applications. Members must submit (a) AMA document, which has sections on the organisation, governance, finance, domestic participation, international programme, technical structures and strategy, (b) either audited accounts or accounts using our own internal Financial Accounts Model or FAM, (c) log of domestic matches, from which we then request additional proofs, in the form of match protocols etc at random, (d) AGM minutes, which we cross reference with the previous years to ensure constitutional compliance.

The AMA has proved its worth as a compliance tool. It has raised standards and makes clear to our members the need for solid reporting, which they will need to obtain / maintain government recognition. It has also enabled us, as a regulator, to uncover bad practice and maladministration.



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