Job search
Job Search

People: RLEF's Danny Kazandijan on EU grants and creating rugby league standards in Europe

Published in Sports Management 04 Apr 2016 issue 117
Read on turning pages | Download PDF of this issue
RLEF general manager Danny Kazandijan
RLEF general manager Danny Kazandijan

In December 2015, the Rugby League European Federation (RLEF) announced that it had been awarded its biggest-ever fund of €466,000 (£365,883, US$552,334) by the European Union’s ERASMUS+ programme.

The money, RLEF general manager Danny Kazandijan tells Sports Management, will go towards the implementation of a Training and Education Portal, which will provide a standardised set of protocols around coaching and match officiating across Europe.

Created in January 2003, the RLEF originally had eight members, three of which were full members – England, Russia and France. In the subsequent 13 years the “game has grown so quickly” says Kazandijan, pointing to a current membership of 10 full members, nine affiliated members and 13 observers.

This explosive growth and the need for devolution of responsibility was the catalyst behind the RLEF’s bid for European Union money to create the platform which “makes sure standards don’t slip” and that “bastardised versions” of rugby league are not being created within member nations.

“In the past there was a tendency, due to lack to resources, to deliver education in the field then almost just wish people ‘good luck’ and then expect them to produce rugby league teams and championships,” Kazandijan explains. “Implementing a comprehensive monitoring and assessment regime is essential, and this is what the new project gives us.”

The way the project works is that 17 partner nations have been split into five clusters, with one nation acting as a mentor, a nation below acting as a leader country and one or two nations as the learner nations.

For example, France will be a mentor nation, passing down its coaching and match officiating experience to leader nation the Netherlands, who will in turn pass that information down the learner nation Belgium. Candidates put forward by the nations will then be able to take RLEF qualifications, and will receive long-term professional development from Super League clubs Leeds Rhinos (coaching) and St Helens (match officiating).

“The first thing to say is that all of the qualifications will be standard RLEF qualifications,” say Kazandijan. “We’ve done a considerable amount of work on match officiating to make a unified approach. It’s the first time you’ll see a multilateral approach to a universal set of qualifications, which is the way the sport should be progressing on the education side.” The target is to qualify 100-250 people across both disciplines.

In receiving the ERASMUS+ grant, the RLEF training scheme can count itself as one of only 22 projects receiving funding from 330 applications. It is the third European Union grant the body has accepted after funds of €80,000 (£62,712, US$89,656) in 2011 and €298,000 (£233,585, US$333,906) over 2012-13.

Kazandijan acknowledges that the sport has benefitted greatly since the launch of the Lisbon Treaty in 2007 – which made sport a competency for the EU. “External funding from the EU has been a magnificent contributor to our operations,” he says.

“We’re not dependent on the EU grants by any means, but if we didn’t have them we wouldn’t have been able to expand to the extent we have. By far the majority of our technical education has been made possible by contributions made by the EU.”

In addition to its work overseeing and governing rugby in Europe, the RLEF looks after the sport in Canada, Lebanon and Jamaica, to name a few nations, as well as Ghana in Africa.

The general manager explains: “We had a pilot project in Ghana, which is an isolated nation for rugby league, but that’s opened the doors in Sierra Leone and Nigeria. Hopefully that will grow into a sustainable corner of the game.”

But there are challenges to face, Kazandijan concedes, particularly around the availability of facilities and the lack of government recognition of the sport in some nations.

“As non-traditional rugby league nations mature, facility provision is becoming an increasingly important part of the agenda,” he says. “Getting access to playing fields in countries like Jamaica, Serbia and Lebanon has become an important objective, as they’re spending a lot of money on hire charges and don’t have control over an expanding domestic championship. Where we can provide technical expertise we will.”

Sign up for FREE ezines & magazines
Sports jobs
Everyone Active
featured job

Swimming Teachers

Everyone Active
Salary: Competitive hourly rate
Job location: Nationwide

General Manager

truGym
Salary: Competitive
Location: Gateshead, UK

Duty Manager

GLL
Salary: Up to £22,930
Location: Manchester, UK

Duty Manager

GLL
Salary: Up to £22,930 PA
Location: Oxford, UK

Recreation Assistant (Lifeguard)

GLL
Salary: Up to £16,696 per annum
Location: Appleby-in-Westmorland, UK

Recreation Assistant (Lifeguard)

GLL
Salary: Up to £19,775 per annum (39 hours pro rata)
Location: Cambridge, UK

Recreation Assistant (Lifeguard)

GLL
Salary: Up to £18,305 per annum
Location: Preston, UK

General Manager

The Gym Group
Salary: Competitive salary plus benefits
Location: London, England, UK

Recreation Assistant (Lifeguard)

GLL
Salary: Up to £18,305 per annum
Location: Reading, UK

Recreation Assistant (Lifeguard)

GLL
Salary: Up to £16,696 per annum
Location: Swindon, UK
recruiting with sports management

Catering Supervisor

GLL
Salary: Up To £17,977 PA
Location: Swindon, UK

Sales Manager

Lex Leisure
Salary: 25,000 per annum (plus OTE)
Location: Bexleyheath, UK

Duty Manager

GLL
Salary: Up to £22,930 PA
Location: Chingford, London, UK

Duty Manager

GLL
Salary: Up to £22,930 PA
Location: Preston, UK

Duty Manager

GLL
Salary: Up to £22,930 PA
Location: Manchester, UK

Duty Manager

GLL
Salary: Up to £22,930 PA
Location: Teversham, Cambridge, UK

Senior Recreation Assistant

New Hall School
Salary: £9.02ph - £10.76ph
Location: Boreham, Chelmsford, UK
recruiting with sports management

Assistant Manager

GLL
Salary: Up To £34,966 PA
Location: Epsom, UK

Health and Fitness Supervisor

GLL
Salary: Up To £23,894 PA
Location: Finchley, London, UK

General Manager

GLL
Salary: Up To £31,251 PA
Location: Bradford, UK

Fitness Class Instructors

Anglia Ruskin University
Salary: Hourly paid upon submission of claims
Location: Chelmsford, UK

Swimming Teacher

Circadian Leisure Trust
Salary: £10.96 - £13.24 per hour
Location: Yate, Bristol, UK

Duty Manager

GLL
Salary: Up To £25,655 PA
Location: London, UK

Recreation Assistant (Lifeguard)

GLL
Salary: Up to £9.00 per hour
Location: Belfast, UK
training with sports management

Recreation Assistant (Lifeguard)

GLL
Salary: Up to £18,305 per annum
Location: Cambridge, UK

Recreation Assistant (Lifeguard)

GLL
Salary: Up to £18,305 per annum
Location: Amersham, UK

Assistant General Manager

The Gym Group
Salary: Competitive salary plus benefits
Location: Telford, UK

Team Leader

Everyone Active
Salary: Competitive Salary
Location: Bristol, UK

Swim Manager

Everyone Active
Salary: Competitive Rates
Location: Alton, UK

Duty Manager

Mytime Active
Salary: £20,000 - £25,000 per annum
Location: Bromley, UK

Recreation Assistant / Lifeguard

Mytime Active
Salary: £17,076.80 per annum pro rata
Location: Bromley, UK
lifeguard jobs  swimming teacher jobs  recreation assistant jobs  apprenticeships jobs  personal trainer jobs  Gymnastics Coach jobs  duty manager jobs  assistant manager jobs  general manager jobs  assistant general manager jobs  Customer Services Advisor jobs  Catering Assistant jobs 
More jobs

Video Gallery

Wattbike
The choice of the elite. Wattbike introduced the first true indoor bike in 2008, changing indoor cycling forever. Developed in association with world class coaches and athletes, and now chosen by the world’s premier health clubs, cycling studios, and personal trainers as well as universities, the military, and countless athletes and coaches across the world, Wattbike has truly revolutionised indoor cycling. Want to join our revolution? Power up your business with Wattbike.
Visit website
More videos

Company profile

Company profile: UK Trade & Investment
UK Trade & Investment is the government department that supports UK companies to trade internationally and helps overseas businesses to set up in the UK.
View full profile >
More company profiles

Featured Supplier

Gympass expands in Ireland with flagship operator Gym Plus
Gympass, a leader in corporate fitness sales, has expanded its network to Ireland following a new partnership with Gym Plus.
View full details >
More featured suppliers

Diary dates

21-23 Jan 2020
Harrogate Convention Centre, Harrogate, United Kingdom
28-30 Jan 2020
Ericsson Exhibition Hall, Ricoh Arena, Coventry, United Kingdom
29-30 Jan 2020
Holiday Inn San Francisco-Golden Gateway, San Francisco, United States
23-25 Mar 2020
Hilton, Barcelona, Spain
More diary dates