RFL responds to disappointing participation figures

The RFL has responded to the publication of disappointing participation figures for post-16 players, and has stressed that it is taking action.

Figures released by The Daily Telegraph earlier this week showed that rugby leaue post-16, weekly participation has declined by almost 40 per cent over the last decade.

Sarah-Jane Gray, the development and public affairs director at the Rugby Football League, insisted the game was growing amongst young people, and that this would soon have an effect.

“The Rugby Football League has focused on getting children and young people to play the game in recent years and has seen good growth in this area,” she said.

“The figures from Active People are taken from a sample survey and do not take into account those under the age of 16 playing the sport.

“In 2016 we saw more than 80,000 children playing Rugby League through the Sky Try initiative alone and have more than 100,000 children between 14 and 16 playing the game regularly at school and community clubs.

“That said, despite the growth at young age groups, we recognise there are challenges in the youth and adult games.

“We are committed to working with our partners across the game to look at how coaching, environments and competition structure impact on how players stay and succeed in rugby league.

“Encouragingly we have seen registrations at community clubs grow year on year since 2012 and we’ve seen an improvement in retention of players over that time, but we recognise that there is more to do.

“In particular, as a sport we need to deal with the reasons too many children are not transitioning to 16-18 rugby league and beyond.

“We want as many young people as possible to reach their full potential in our sport in a way that’s right for them.”

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