Next Tuesday (December 17), representatives of the Great Britain Armed Forces Rugby League will present to the UK’s Parliamentary Rugby League Group.
2014 represents the 20th anniversary of rugby league being played in the services after the ban on servicemen and women playing the sport was lifted in 1994, something in which the Group and its Members played a significant part.
Army Rugby League was created almost immediately, with the Royal Air Force and Royal Navy following suit in 1996 and 1998 respectively, and has grown significantly in that time, to the point where the UK hosted the Combined Services Rugby League World Cup during this summer’s Festival of World Cups.
Group Chairman, Leeds North West MP Greg Mulholland said “The Parliamentary Rugby League Group has both a long and very strong friendship with forces rugby league. The Group was created initially to address bias and discrimination in rugby league and our colleagues at the time played a vital role in overturning such inequity in the forces and elsewhere.
“To have Jason Talbot and Damian Clayton – who were instrumental in overcoming the issues faced by rugby league players in the services – take us through the history of the game in the Forces from day one through to our hosting of the outstanding Services Rugby League World Cup this summer is fantastic and I know Members of Parliament re really looking forward to the visit.”
WO Clayton gave his thoughts “Rugby league is recognised as honing the mental and physical skills that members of the Armed Services require and there are huge numbers of rugby league fans in all the Forces. It is therefore an important component in service life and we are grateful to the Group for its instrumental role in rugby league being recognised. It is a terrific for us to be back in the Palace of Westminster to tell the Group how things have developed over the last 20 years.”
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