A familiar name to Super League followers, former Scotland skipper and St Helens, Hull, Leeds, Huddersfield and Wakefield forward Wayne McDonald has been elected to the newly formed Emirates National Rugby League General Board, as their Junior Development Manager.
ENRL held its first Annual General Meeting on Friday, 31st July to officially inaugurate the sport in the country, following on from the staging of a two match home series with Lebanon Espoirs recently, in which McDonald was named the top performer.
The historic event, which took place at the Ibis Hotel in Al Barsha, Dubai, marked a major step in the UAE’s campaign to reach the 2013 World Cup, the qualifiers for which will begin in 2011.
During the meeting, the Executive and General Boards were elected and the constitution sworn in which is the next major step towards formal recognition as Official Observers by the Rugby League European Federation
Newly elected Chairman, Stephen Fairhall was thrilled with the outcome of the AGM, which also discussed the future development of the game in the UAE.
“The strong interest from players and supporters was encouraging and shows how much interest there is in the game already and the potential of the sport in the UAE,” he said.
“The focus now is to continue talks with sponsors and strategic partners to further develop the foundations of the game on and off the pitch. We hope to be able to confirm and announce some major deals in the very near future.”
Members of the league also voted to change the name from Emirates Rugby League to Emirates National Rugby League, with a website to be set up to that effect.
Further developments included the setting of membership fees, the desire to establish a women’s Oz Tag competition as well as further discussions of a 9s tournament during Ramadan and a four-team competition after Ramadan, again to fulfill another of the RLEF’s principal requirements. Two sides, Rebels and Rangers, have already been established.
Fairhall, who has been one of the driving forces behind ENRL added: “Emirates NRL is now up and running and I feel with the interest we have already had in Dubai, the rest of the country and the region, there is a bright future for rugby league in the Emirates.”