The Rugby League European Federation staff has been expanded to include new development managers in Scandinavia, Ukraine and the Caribbean.
Warren Heilig, who was responsible for bringing the code to Norway in 2009 and Artur Martyrosyan, the driving force behind rugby league in Ukraine, will both commence their roles in January while Romeo Monteith, who has overseen the growth of the code in Jamaica, will now have a brief covering the whole region.
Norway has made significant strides in a short period of time, with clubs from the capital city Oslo and neighbouring Lillestrom participating in domestic competition in 2010, with an expansion planned for 2011.
The Ukrainian competition is slightly older and more established, with clubs in Kharkov, Donetsk and Dnepropetrovsk, the three biggest cities in eastern Ukraine currently playing and with plans to move into the capital, Kiev, at an advanced stage.
“It is a real honour to become a part of such an organisation,” said Heilig. “I really hope that I can be a good member of the team that brings our wonderful sport to the attention of Scandinavia. There is clearly an appetite for the code in the Nordic countries.”
Heilig will be charged with developing the fledgling Swedish and Danish rugby league and, along with Martyrosyan, primary strategic objectives will be to develop national championships, increase participation numbers and strengthen the governance, administrative and operational capability of the associations in their region.
Martyrosyan commented on his appointment, “I am sure that rugby league will make a real impact, it is the true sport of athletes and gladiators which appeals so much to us. It is an honour for me to be able to help to spread that message.”