IRL chief executive Nigel Wood sees a positive future for rugby league


International Rugby League chief executive Nigel Wood sees a positive future for rugby league on a global stage.

Wood has taken the opportunity of the coronavirus lockdown to reflect on what is possible for rugby league – and he sees a positive picture for the game once the pandemic is over.

He said: “We can sit and paw at the immediate challenges that we all face, that is important for the day-to-day, however, if one outcome of the COVID-19 period is that the two major playing leagues emerge more integrated and working towards a global calendar that suits everyone, is commercially attractive and has room for club, international club and international competition from 2022 onwards, we are then beginning to unlock the huge potential of our sport.

“I don’t want to trivialise anything, but now is the time to think the unthinkable. What does great look like in 2032 and how do we achieve that?

“I can see professional leagues in the Southern Hemisphere, Europe, North America and potentially further develop the impetus in Central Europe. All playing in an integrated calendar and governed by effective national bodies all under the auspices of a fully functioning international federation doing what it should do.

“I firmly believe that many of the pieces are in place, there is increasingly a will from the different bodies around the world, the challenge for International Rugby League is to pull these pieces together into an attractive package that everyone can benefit from and which will make rugby league a truly global sport.”

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