SADDLEWORTH Rangers have been told they can point the way towards the future – and help England win the Rugby League World Cup.
The game’s bosses descended on Shaw Hall Bank Road to outline their plans for the game.
And Rugby Football League chief executive Ralph Rimmer highlighted the work done in junior rugby league as a stepping stone towards England’s hopes of lifting the trophy on home soil in 2021.
He said: “Our responsibility starts with Saddleworth’s Under-7s and go right the way through to England winning the World Cup.
“Winning a World Cup will be pretty big for us, that’s what we’d like to achieve on this journey.”
RFL chiefs also highlighted the new clubhouse at Saddleworth, which cost £300,000 and is named after Terry Flanagan, as an example of how rugby league can go forward.
As part of hosting the World Cup, a ‘legacy’ fund will be created to help community clubs develop facilities, making it better and more attractive for parents to get their children involved.
That in turn could also have a benefit when it comes to negotiating the critical new TV deal, which expires in 2021.
Mr Rimmer added: “It puts certain clubs under pressure but they understand that.”
Saddleworth’s new clubhouse, which opened in 2017, has breathed new life into the club after its previously dilapidated facilities were replaced.
However, despite a mammoth fundraising effort the work is not yet over with more needed to bring other areas of the club need attention.
Mr Rimmer, who admits to playing at Rangers in the past, was joined by the RFL’s Director of Operations and Legal Karen Moorhouse and Head of Coaching and Player Development Dave Rotheram for the session, which was attended by members of the national media.
A number of topics were covered, including the prospect of clubs in the Canadian capital Ottawa and America’s New York entering the ‘English’ pyramid in League One, in which Oldham Roughyeds play.
And with Pots’n’Pans in the background, Mr Rimmer revealed other places have expressed an interest.
He added: “We’ve had a genuinely exciting number of expressions of interest from outside the UK, from people interested in setting up professional clubs in the sport.”