Rugby League and Communities

Rugby League and Communities Workshop

15 July 2013 

Harris Manchester College, Oxford


Rugby League (RL) brings its World Cup to England, Wales and Ireland in 2013. RL is a traditional, working-class sport and is historically strong in communities in the north of England, the south-west of France, the east coast of Australia, Auckland in New Zealand, and Papua New Guinea. In the southern hemisphere, RL’s flagship is the National Rugby League, which challenges Australian Rules Football for dominance in the marketplace as the national sport of Australia. In the northern hemisphere, the Super League is the premier competition, with a dedicated and healthy fan-base at many clubs with some challenging issues where traditional communities have changed, or where clubs have faced financial difficulties. RL is played at junior and community levels across its traditional areas, and at this level has expanded rapidly over the last twenty years across the United Kingdom. In Europe, the Rugby League European Federation has been instrumental in supporting the growth of the game in countries as diverse as Norway, Serbia and Lebanon. Elsewhere the rate of expansion has been slower but has seen RL teams and communities emerging in countries in every corner of the globe.

This workshop will follow the principles and aims of Inter-Disciplinary.Net (IDN). IDN was set up to bring academics and practitioners together to discuss research, ideas, good practice and best practice: to help individuals to think critically and think with an inter-disciplinary lens. This workshop intends to bring people involved in working with RL and communities together, whether they are academics or practitioners in RL, to share ideas and to try to solve some of the issues RL faces as it develops into the twenty-first century.


  • To bring together practitioners and academics to look at how rugby league has developed, the problems and challenges facing the game’s communities – and the opportunities


  • Development Officers from any relevant organisation (eg, local authorities, sports partnerships, rugby league clubs)
  • RFL/BARLA Staff (and staff from other rugby league NGBs, the RLEF and the RLIF)
  • Academics


  • Social History
  • Policy Development
  • Community Development
  • RL for Development
  • Expansion v Tradition
  • Sociology
  • Globalization and Internationalization
  • Media and Community

Workshop Leader:            Professor Karl Spracklen, Leeds Metropolitan University