Mike Nicholas hails WRL’s profitable progress

Wales Rugby League president Mike Nicholas has hailed the work done by the governing body in stabilising and developing the sport in the Principality.

The work of chairman Brian Juliff and chief operating officer Chris Thair, in particular, have been praised by Nicholas, with the WRL now operating at a profit.

That was far from the case when the pair were appointed in 2013. The WRL back then was wracked with debt and low participation levels.

Since then, participation has increased hugely in Wales, while the WRL has recorded profits in the last two financial years.

Three years ago, the WRL recorded operational losses of £115,453, so to make a profit now is a sign of real progress.

Nicholas, a former Warrington great and Wales international, has been involved off the field in Wales Rugby League for over 20 years as a coach, team manager, administrator and, since 2003, the president of WRL.

He believes that the WRL is in a stronger position than it has been for many years.

“I’m really pleased that Chris and Brian have successfully retrieved what was a bad situation we were in off the field back in 2013,” he said.

“They’ve done a tremendous job in getting us back on track and their timely intervention regarding governance was critical in our continued developments as an organisation.

“I played for Wales 40 years ago and I’ve been around off the field now for over 20 years, so no-one is more appreciative than me as to what they’ve done.

“I think we’re going from strength to strength, we’re certainly moving forward anyway. Building Rugby League in Wales, when you consider how many other popular sports here, is always a roller-coaster ride but we’ll keep going.

“What I’ve been really encouraged with over the last couple of years is the player development. The management seem to have appointed the right people to train the players and it’s been proved with a number of players signing for Super League clubs, not just first team but in the academy sides too.

“I think we have a successful future on and off the field and I’m looking forward to next stage of growth. We’re growing the game all over Wales and long may it continue.”

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