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TACKLE IT: Rugby Football League launches club board diversity project with Inclusive Boards

Rugby League boardrooms are set to become more diverse, thanks to a ground-breaking partnership between the Rugby Football League (RFL) and executive search firm Inclusive Boards.

Inclusive Boards specialises in supporting organisations to become more inclusive, through greater board diversity and stronger governance structures. Through the Rugby League Club Board Diversity Project, an initial 10 professional clubs will work with the RFL and Inclusive Boards to broaden and strengthen the skills, knowledge and expertise within their boardrooms.

The 10 clubs are: Barrow Raiders; Halifax Panthers; Huddersfield Giants; Hunslet; Midland Hurricanes; Salford Red Devils; Sheffield Eagles; Swinton Lions; Wakefield Trinity; Widnes Vikings. Each club will develop inclusive leadership and recruitment processes to ensure that the sport is able to attract and choose from the best possible candidates.

RFL Inclusion Lead, Ben Abberstein, explains:

“Rugby League is a sport that takes great pride in its history of diversity and representation at the highest level. The Club Board Diversity Project aims to ensure that this is present at leadership levels. This project is another important part of our TACKLE IT inclusion strategy and a massive step forward for the game – a step that is only made possible by the clubs’ commitment to being representative of their communities.”

Samuel Kasumu, Co-Founder of Inclusive Boards adds:

“We’re proud to work with Rugby Football League and to be at the forefront of positive change in the sports sector. We firmly believe that this programme will encourage more people to get involved with sport, both recreationally and professionally.”

Inclusive Boards will work alongside all participating clubs, ensuring they each receive a baseline audit during the initial stages of the programme. This practice ensures a sound understanding is gained of each club’s needs and what work has already taken place to improve participation. Two training sessions will then be designed and delivered followed by one-to-one guidance and support from the Inclusive Boards team. Inclusive Boards will also recruit a pool of diverse candidates for each club, taking a skills-first approach.

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