RFL appoint European Development Director
In an exciting move ahead of the 2013 Rugby League World Cup, the RFL has appointed Niel Wood as European Development Director.
Wood has been the RFL’s National Business Development Manager for the last eight years, during which time he has worked closely with the European and trans-Atlantic nations. That experience will prove invaluable as the RFL looks to stage the most successful World Cup in the sport’s history in three years’ time.
Wood, 52, will work closely with RFL Chairman and Rugby League European Federation Chairman Richard Lewis on the next phase of developments across Europe and the Atlantic, including qualification for the 2013 Rugby League World Cup.
Speaking of his excitement at his new role, Wood said: “This position is an evolution of the great work which has gone on for the past five to seven years.
“My main task is to work with the board of the RLEF to make sure it is functioning as efficiently as it can.
“That will create the backdrop for RLEF Executive Officer Danny Kazandjian, who is based in London, to work with the staff and volunteers right across Europe.
“It’s all about building a framework for those nations to help them develop themselves. We need to train them to develop their own coaches, match officials and administrators.
“We already have a great network of domestic competitions in countries like Serbia, the Czech Republic, German, Norway, Italy, Ukraine and Lebanon. If we can develop those leagues then junior development will flow from that and we’ll get representative structures at more age groups and more disciplines.
“What we want to do is provide, an easy way for people to come into the sport.”
Wood will play an important role in the RLEF developing a European Strategy for launch in August and will work closely with the organisers of the 2010 European Cup, which takes place in October.
The winners of the European Cup will qualify for the 2011 Four Nations alongside England, New Zealand and Australia but the tournament also has a key part to play in preparations for the World Cup two years later.
“Our aim is to make sure that all the nations involved in World Cup qualification are as well prepared as they can possibly be. By the end of this year all the nations who aspire to play in the 2013 World Cup must be full or associate members of the RLEF and RLIF,” he added.