Regional NSW Rugby League clubs, accounting for almost 63,000 members across the state, are set to receive immediate benefits for the 2020 season following the recent decision by the NSWRL and the CRL to come together and work as a single entity.
NSWRL Chief Executive David Trodden said clubs will benefit from several changes including insurance premiums being reduced for players and clubs and a recurring cash injection of $300,000 per annum into bush football clubs following a redistribution of revenue from the logo licensing scheme.
Rules and procedures have been standardised across the state, with the first regional competitions under the new system kicking off this weekend with the start of the Laurie Daley Cup (under 18) and Andrews Johns Cup (under 16) junior representative competitions.
All teams in regional NSW will also receive a free match ball from NSWRL, like their counterparts in metropolitan Sydney; and League Tag teams will receive their tags free of charge (like in metropolitan Sydney) instead of having to pay for them.
"The decision by the NSWRL and the CRL to come together and work as a single entity has allowed us to deliver benefits across the state for both Sydney metropolitan and regional NSW clubs," Trodden said.
"These initiatives demonstrate how passionate the NSWRL is about Rugby League across the entire state of NSW and I hope that all clubs and players reap the benefits from them.
"The insurance regime for regional players and clubs has been enhanced to bring it into line with metropolitan players and clubs.
In some cases, this will see benefits under policies for regional players being doubled at the same time as costs being reduced.
"Revenue from the logo licensing scheme will no longer be centrally retained and will now be distributed back to the regional clubs which raise the revenue."
The NSWRL has also announced a range of initiatives to assist Rugby League clubs in regional areas that were devastated by the bushfires that recently ravaged the state.
Clubs have been affected in several areas including Groups 9 and 16 (Bidgee Region) and Group 7 (Greater Southern Region) and the NSWRL is keen to step in to ensure the survival of these clubs as local communities look to get back on their feet.
The initiatives for bushfire-affected areas include:
- NSWRL to fund insurance premiums for the season for affected clubs;. NSWRL, with the support of Steeden, to supply all football requirements free of charge to affected clubs;
- Subject to there being no interruption with supply routes from China as a result of the coronavirus, NSWRL, with the support of new football boots manufacturer,
- Score Zone, will supply free football boots to children aged under 12 from affected clubs;.
- NSWRL, with the support of Clubs NSW, to organise season launches for Group 7 and 16 with any funds raised at those functions to remain in the respective Groups.
"The bushfires that swept through NSW lately have had a devastating effect on some communities," Trodden said.
"Whilst the sporting infrastructure in bushfire affected areas has remained largely intact, the local economies in those areas have been badly affected which, in turn, will impact on the ability of local businesses to support their footy clubs."
"We need to make sure those clubs are supported by NSWRL to get through this season both for the benefit of the clubs and our game but, more importantly, for the benefit of the local communities in circumstances where sporting clubs are at the heart of most regional communities."