The Rugby Football League has confirmed that it will be relocating to the Etihad Campus in Manchester.
The new National Rugby League centre at the Etihad Campus will provide the sport with an iconic new home in a renowned sporting city and will offer world-class facilities for every level of the game, from community to the England Senior teams.
Following a process that began in 2016 and involved applications and proposals from a number of different councils based in the North of England, the RFL board unanimously approved the proposal from Manchester City council and the City Football Group last month.
Brian Barwick, RFL chairman, said: “The move to the Etihad Campus is a genuinely exciting prospect and underlines the governing body’s ambition to develop Rugby League across the spectrum of the sport. We want Rugby League to be a sport that future generations want to take part in and everyone has the chance to be involved with. This move will play its part in helping deliver that aspiration.”
Final plans for the new headquarters are still being developed and it is confirmed that the RFL will become major tenants of the regional arena which will be rebranded as the National Rugby League centre.
Ralph Rimmer, RFL interim CEO, said: “Moving to the Etihad Campus will be transformational for the sport of Rugby League on and off the field.
“The world-class facilities that will be made available to every level of the England set-up, from youth through to senior Men’s and Women’s, will mean that our international squads will have access to some of the best training, recovery and on-field sporting facilities available anywhere in the world.”
The new England Performance Unit, led by rugby director Kevin Sinfield, will start to work at the facility from later this year, while all the RFL staff will relocate into a new state of the art headquarters before the start of the Rugby League World Cup in 2021.
Rimmer continued: “The incredible plans for this campus and the proposal presented to us, that put Rugby League as a central partner, convinced us that this was absolutely the right place for the future headquarters of our sport, both on and off the field.
“Manchester City Council and the City Football Group have been superb throughout the process and demonstrated that they believe there is a strong future for this sport, and we are all in agreement that this future is best served at the Etihad Campus in Manchester.”
The Etihad Campus is a 200-acre site at the heart of East Manchester which is home to an array of world-class sports, leisure and community facilities including the Etihad Stadium and 80-acre City Football Academy, National Cycling Centre and Manchester Institute of Health and Performance and an array of sport national governing bodies.
Manchester Metropolitan University has recently confirmed plans to establish a new Institute of Sport adjacent to what will be the Rugby Football League’s new home.
The Rugby Football League and Manchester Metropolitan University recently launched a leadership development course for Rugby Football League students, which will qualify delegates as sporting directors, based on Manchester Metropolitan University’s Masters of Sport Directorship qualification.