New community structure gets go ahead

Grassroots rugby league is set for a major overhaul after the Community Board approved plans for a season that runs from March to November.

The Community Board said the decision was taken after a public consultation demonstrated widespread support for the proposals, which are based on a four tier pyramid structure for the sport.

Richard Lewis, Chairman of the Community Board said that they were in agreement that the proposed structure is the best way to develop the sport across the adult, wheelchair, youth and junior game at a community club level.

“The results of the latest consultation with the community game show clear support for the proposal with 77 per cent of respondents agreeing that the new structure will provide suitable playing opportunities for all players,” he said.

“Having a fully aligned pyramid structure for the sport will provide clubs and players with excellent opportunities to progress and develop and will strengthen rugby league at all levels.”

At present the majority of community clubs and competitions operate from September to April but there have been growing calls for a switch to a primarily summer based structure in recent years. However, the matter has been the subject of much debate with some favouring the current system.

A six week consultation was carried out by independent research company Vision Twentyone between December 14 and January 23. A total of 1,119 response were received with 69 per cent agreeing that they would like to be part of the new structure.

The Community Board is due to meet on March 10 to agree on and approve overall operation and competition rules for the new structure and formally agree and publish the timescale for its implementation. The aim is to introduce the changes by March 2012.

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