Junior clubs warned over new format row

The RFL has warned every club in the North West Counties Juniors Rugby League Association that teams could no longer be insured for matches as the row over the introduction of a new format of the game escalates.

A letter has been sent to member clubs warning them that the NWC Juniors decision not to accept the new Primary Rugby League formats might mean existing insurance cover no longer applies.

David Butler, head of community department delivery for the RFL, has warned further sanctions could follow if the situation remains unresolved.

It is the latest development in the stand-off between the game’s governing body and NWC Juniors, whose member clubs have unanimously rejected the new format in a vote.

In his letter to clubs, Mr Butler confirms the following:

1) Given the NWC Juniors unwillingness to accept the new format, its membership of the Primary Rugby League Management Group is no longer relevant

2) Teams could now be playing without insurance cover as NWC Juniors is in breach of the community game operational rules.

3) The RFL will no longer produce supporting material for the traditional format including handbooks, workshops and videos

4) RFL time and resources will now be focused towards leagues and clubs running the new format

5) The RFL will begin to explore alternative methods of delivering the new format in the North West

6) Further sanctions may follow should NWC Juniors continue to refuse to introduce the new format

Butler concludes: “We have re-iterated to the NWC Juniors that our ideal position is that the league accepts the new formats for the game and delivers Primary Rugby League in the region in partnership with the RFL and the other leagues operating around the country. The RFL has offered to continue to support the league in achieving this.”

NWC Juniors chairman Mick Doyle has described the letter as ‘disappointing’ in a written response to Mr Butler which has been copied to clubs.

Mr Doyle has asked for immediate confirmation whether or not insurance cover for teams is valid.

He has also asked for clarification whether the alternative methods mentioned could conflict with the NWC Juniors schedule and what the implications would be should NWC Juniors clubs decide to move away from the community game operational rules.

NWC Juniors clubs and officials are scheduled to meet on Tuesday night at the association’s normal monthly meeting.

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