RFL reaches out to fans to discuss 2030 strategy plans

Ralph Rimmer was part of one of the most read stories in 2021

The RFL has reached out to a number of fans to invite them to have their say on the governing body’s strategy leading up to 2030.

Chief executive Ralph Rimmer promised recently that stakeholders throughout the game would be able to feed back on their plans.

That included the players’ union, England performance unit and coaches, while the media are also due to be briefed this week.

The email read: “The RFL is currently reviewing and updating its strategy. As part of that process, we are consulting with a wide range of stakeholders from across the game.

“Speaking with fans of rugby league is a key part of that process and as a valued fan you have been chosen to be invited to join us for a one-hour online group discussion.

“During the hour we will talk you through the draft strategy for the period to 2030 and ask the group for feedback.”

As yet, there has been no indication on how many fans are taking part or how they were selected.

The online sessions are being led by the RFL’s chief operating officer, Tony Sutton.

REAL TALK: Lost its magic? Looking at some of the issues raised by fans about rugby league

The RFL are still progressing with Super League to re-align ahead of the 2022, including another possible re-structure of the game.

Their last formal strategy ran from 2015 to 2021, with a review delayed due to the COVID pandemic.

A mid-term review was published in March 2019.

That strategy included the community membership fee, which is currently being rolled out, as well as building on a legacy beyond the 2021 World Cup.

Clearly the pandemic has impacted the last two years of the planned strategy.

It covers a range of topics, including participation, broadcast, events, the women’s game and finance.

“Shut out and let down”

A recent survey by fan engagement experts Think Fan Engagement revealed fans ‘feel shut out and let down’ by clubs and governing bodies.

Of the fans polled in that survey, 93% agreed that all fans should be formally consulted by the RFL.

In response to the survey, the RFL said that they hadn’t been asked to be involved or offered a copy of the results.

A spokesperson said: “As a governing body, we engage and consult with fans (and participants) regularly, we champion the insight internally and it contributes to strategic decision making.

“Examples of this include an annual fans survey, conducted at the end of each season – the 2021 survey will be pushed out in November – which covers a broad range of topics, and consistently receives more than 1,000 responses.

“We also convene groups of fans digitally or in person at our offices and clubs to consult on key subjects – such as Our League, or Strategy – and we survey participants at the end of every playing season for feedback on competitions and their experiences of participating.

“In addition, we are part of a syndicated UK sport wide tracking study to enable us to benchmark feelings towards Rugby League amongst our fans and the UK general population against other sports.

“Finally, we have a customer services team who record and respond to all fan enquiries on a broad range of subjects – match officials, competitions structure ideas, marketing ideas etc.”

Community fees

The RFL are currently wrestling with a fall-out from some areas of the community game about the new membership fee to be rolled out from 2022.

IN-DEPTH: RFL defend controversial plans to introduce membership fee for community rugby league

All players in the community game will have to pay an annual fee to participate.

Despite efforts to justify and educate on the membership fee since it was announced, the RFL continues to receive criticism for the move.

Some hard-working volunteers within the community game says the increase in costs will force people away from the sport.

About James Gordon 7231 Articles
Love Rugby League editor. Founded the website back in 2005. Worked with a range of clubs and sponsors during that time. Also commentates for BBC.


  1. Stop messing with OUR game,its good to see our game expand but its an English league. Expand in England/Uk not Europe or Canada etc. We can play other country,s in a different competition. Help other country’s yes but not at the expense of British rugby.

    • As a fan from outside the North and just a fan of the game, I think this has been a long time coming. E.g In NRL NZ has the Warriors. In Union there is Super Rugby which now consists of Aus, NZ, Fiji and Tonga teams (And previously Argentina and Japan). United Rugby Championship has Wales, Scotland, South Africa, Ireland and Italy teams. Rugby League isn’t a big enough game like football to survive of purely English teams, so putting the bigger clubs in French Rugby League into the Super League can only strengthen it. If anything I think Super League has been too slow to implement this and should have done it years ago. I now think that Super League and French Rugby League should merge for the survival of the game. Personally I think it would make it more exciting. Everyone always complains about too many round robins.

    • I’m a fan of Rugby League from outside the north so I have an unbiased opinion. NRL has the NZ Warriors. In Union, Super Rugby has teams from NZ, Aus, Fiji and Tonga. United Rugby Championship has South Africa, Ireland, Wales, Scotland and Italy. Super League should be moving more towards an Anglo-French competition. It will strengthen the competition, and secure RL future. It will make it more entertaining.

  2. There are far, far, too many re-structures, far too many rule changes which result in threats to clubs & players, you listen far too much to minorities voicing changes & in particular give too much sway to the top six big clubs – per say. Everyone + all other clubs have to loose out because of greed of main stay of the big six clubs. You are hell bent on breaking up unity of the whole of the rugby league, it will by 10yrs time break up with either a top 8 SL, & /or European clubs far distance from the northern game supporters currently support rugby league, so press on & self destruct !

  3. When the RFL actually do what they say they are going to do then you will get the true picture of what is wrong with the game. Instead they choose the fans and club officials they talk to to get the answers THEY want.

  4. When I was a kid if you didn’t do your job properly you got sack so out must go
    Ganson hicks thaler (Fitzpatrick McManus lenagan etheringtons fuck off
    In John kear Tony smith scully Morley price hunt rea Barrie McDermott

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