By James Szymik
Rugby League in Poland has existed for a little over two years yet in that short period of time a dedicated workforce of volunteers have made serious strides in introducing a sport to a nation which had little or knowledge of the 13-a side game.
It all began in 2011 when 20-year-old student Lukasz Lukca was searching the internet for a sport or activity that he could introduce to his home city of Lodz to keep the youth off the streets. He came across a clip from the NRL on YouTube and was instantly impressed with the high intensity and level skill on display. He had found the perfect sport.
Lukasz has dedicated the last two years of his life to the development of Rugby League in Poland. In that time he has established the Lodz Magpies RLFC, hosted a successful tour of the Great Britain Student Pioneers in July 2012, delivered a large number of coaching session to schools across the city and recently applied to the Polish government for official recognition of the Poland XIII Association.
With finances tight and a large percentage of the players under-18 or on low incomes, it’s proving difficult to organise fixtures. There is no domestic competition in Poland and with only one amateur club, playing a game means travelling to a neighbouring country or financing teams to travel to Lodz.
To support the continued development of the game and the hard work Lukasz and his team of volunteers are doing on the ground, a Crowdfunding page has been set up to raise £1,200 to fund one away fixture and to host a game in Poland to help raise the profile of the sport.
Crowdfunding is a sponsorship website where by a number of sponsors can donate a small amount towards the total, the project is only successful if the target it reached. If we fail to reach the target then no money is taken from the sponsors or received by the project.
Lukasz, who is Poland Rugby League chairman explained: “The players have been training every week for nearly a year with no fixtures. We are desperate to play a game otherwise we risk losing our members. We are also struggling to build commercial partnerships and find sponsors whilst we have no fixtures. With financial support we can organise games which will help us attract sponsorship and support our application with the Polish government to recognise our association.”
Please visit http://crowdfunder.co.uk/polandrl-/ to donate as much as you can afford to support the development of the great game!