RFL defend Wales funding cut

The RFL have defended their planned funding cut of junior development from Wales Rugby League, saying they will continue to support the Welsh body.

WRL has confirmed that the RFL will cut £70,000 in funding from junior development at the end of 2017.

Two WRL staff have been made redundant in anticipation of the loss in funding – coaching and performance development manager Jon Ellis and North Wales development officer Allen Jones.

RFL director of people and projects Jon Dutton told Love Rugby League in a statement: “The RFL’s funding commitment to Wales RL for 2017 will remain unchanged.

“Our contribution is specifically targeted towards junior pathway objectives and isn’t directly related to funding people.

“I have no doubt that the decision to make key posts redundant has not been take lightly by Wales RL particularly at a time when they are making good progress.

“We will continue to support Wales RL at a critical time for the organisation.”

WRL chief executive Chris Thair said the decision to make the two staff redundant was not taken lightly.

“Whilst this news may come as a surprise to many, these decisions have not been made lightly or in a short timeframe,” he said last month.

“In the summer of this year, the RFL gave a strong indication that their £70,000 annual support to WRL for junior development would cease at the end of 2017; which they have since reaffirmed.

“This early notice was being provided to aid our preparation towards that day.

“We will of course continue to put a strong case forward to the RFL for this not to be the case and try to increase our commercial income from other sources however it would be foolhardy for us not to prepare.

“Since being notified by the RFL, WRL has been undertaking an operational review to ensure we get the maximum return from our limited resources towards achieving our strategic aims.

“The drop in RFL financial support means the only core funding will come from Sport Wales which is around £50,000 per annum.

“Whilst the Sport Wales funding is not guaranteed, we are confident of meeting their targets and don’t see this figure fluctuating too much in the near future.

“£43,000 of the Sport Wales funding covers community work and the remaining £7500 supports coaching pathways.

“Sport Wales do not fund any of the nine origin teams or six international teams directly run by Wales Rugby League so these are also part of the same review.

“Our priorities in 2017 centre around our participation in the World Cup, the domestic club competitions and raising commercial income to buffer against the loss of RFL funding and make us more sustainable in the future. This will be reflected in where our resources are prioritised.”

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