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Both taken from the Euro rugby league website.

Hungary Takes Formative League Steps

Following a trip by Rugby League European Federation Executive Officer Kevin Rudd and South East European Regional Development Officer Jovan Vujosevic to Budapest, the first tentative steps have been taken at establishing the code in Hungary.

The initial task is the establishment of a Rugby League Association in the country, together with the drawing up of a constitution. Representatives and interested parties have been invited to the next RLEF official observers meeting, in London on March 8th.

During the trip, pupils from Earlsheaton School, led by teacher Matt Hotkinson, who were on a cultural exchange programme, demonstrated basic coaching drills.

Also in attendance was Andy Fairhurst, Development Officer from the Czech Republic, in order to establish links between the two nations and the party were hosted at a professional Handball match.

Anyone who has Hungarian ancestry or connections and would be interested in offering their support for the new venture should contact Kevin Rudd in the first instance at Kevin.rudd@rlef.eu.com

League Makes Initial Impact In Emirates

Safa Park, Dubai, became the first venue to witness structured rugby league in the United Arab Emirates when UAE Rugby League development staff ran a two-hour training session.


Twenty players attended, including exiles from Lebanon, England and Australia amongst the interested locals. The participants were drawn from Lebanese rugby league, Dubai Hurricanes Rugby Union, UAE Falcons Rugby Union (an all-Arab team), Leeds and Huddersfield amateur rugby league and included two Australians whose background was in Aussie Rules.


“Everybody was extremely excited to play their original code of rugby from back home,” said Sol Mokdad, UAE RL’s Dubai-based development manager, who conducted the session with Abu Dhabi development officer and Pilkington Recs Chairman Ralph Rawsthorne.


“The amount of talent in that park was incredible and the pace just kept getting quicker with only one water break for the whole two hours. The Emirati boys were happy with the speed of the game and how much they got the ball” Mokdad added.


With at least another ten players expected for the next session, as well as a high profile coach, UAE RL is confident of putting together a formidable team to play Liban Espoir in Bhamdoun, Lebanon, on 22nd March.

Following that, a BARLA club will tour the UAE in May and plans are afoot to begin the UAE national championship in November, featuring clubs from Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Sharjah contesting a four-month season.


Mokdad - who has been working on the UAE project since November, as part of the RLEF Euro-Med Department’s Middle Eastern expansion plans - has held talks with the country’s Sports and National Youth Development Committee, concerning the appropriate steps rugby league must take to gain government recognition and is confident about its future.


“The Emirates embraces new ideas, especially sports,” he noted. “Rugby league is new to the UAE and the pace and intensity of the game will appeal to the Emirati youth, as well as to the abundance of rugby league players already living here.”
 

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