Parliamentary Rugby League Group Annual General Meeting 2012
The Parliamentary Rugby League Group yesterday held its Annual General Meeting, electing officers for the year ahead and awarding Honorary Life Membership to former RFL Chairman Richard Lewis.
Lord Lofthouse of Pontefract remains Group President, with the following officers elected:
Chairman: Greg Mulholland MP
Vice-Chairmen: Lord Hoyle, James Clappison MP, David Mowat MP
Treasurer: Lindsay Hoyle MP
Secretary: Yvonne Fovargue MP
Mark Ramsdale was retained to provide Secretariat support to the Group.
The Group had an active year since the last AGM. After successfully lobbying the North West Development Agency to honour its full agreement to fund the 2013 World Cup, the Group continued in the same vein and over the summer helped secure a Rugby League Statue at Wembley Stadium. As the World Cup approaches, Group Chairman Leeds North West MP Greg Mulholland met with members of the Rugby League International Federation along with Sports Minister Hugh Robertson. After some notable issues on player visas, Mulholland challenged immigration minister Damien Green in the House of Commons, the outcome of which was a meeting between Mulholland, Green, the UK Boarder Agency and the RFL to streamline the process.
The Group invited Health Minister Paul Burstow to hear from the State of Mind Campaign, and Sky Sports’ Executive Producer Neville Smith briefed the Group about the broadcaster’s work. Most recently, Members discussed the state of the game with the RFL and its activities to combat racism in the sport.
Over the year, tributes were paid to long-standing Group Member Lord Ashley of Stoke who passed away after a short battle with pneumonia and, through Parliamentary Motions, to former England and Great Britain Captain Jamie Peacock MBE and former Hull KR legend and first indigenous Australian captain, Arthur Beetson.
The Group’s crowning achievement for the year was the successful campaign against the BBC’s proposals to cut local radio coverage. The Chairman of the BBC Trust – the body which oversees the BBC on behalf of licence-fee payers – made reference to the unprecedented response to the consultation, of which nearly ninety per cent came from rugby league supporters. The Group instigated its campaign after a meeting in November 2011 with BBC presenters, executives and Richard Lewis, and worked closely with the RFL and other Parliamentary Sports Groups to force the BBC into making changes.
Speaking after the meeting, Mulholland said “this has been a very good year for the Group. We continue to grow and become a more powerful voice in Westminster and Whitehall. I would like to thank my colleagues for returning me to the position of Chairman. It is my intention that for our 25th year in 2013 we can do even great things for the sport, and hope we see a fantastic world cup and as a Englishmen I am of course hoping we may see an England victory.”
All Group news and details about meetings and members is available on the website: www.apprlg.org.uk. Updates are posted on twitter via @UKParliamentRL.