FAR & WIDE

STEVE MASCORD

FLEDGLING Nigeria Rugby League are about to sign a contract with a high profile global sports development agency.

Dubai-based Ballimpics have worked with the Bundesliga, football World Cup, Rugby Sevens and other high profile sports governing bodies to develop their businesses for fans and participants.

“They are basically going to develop rugby league in Nigeria with us,” said Nigeria leading light Ade Adebisi (pictured).

“This is a huge agreement for us. It shows how professional we intend to be.”

Nigeria will host the Middle East Africa tournament later this year. They are working with local and international celebrities to spread their message via social media, a breakthrough approach for the sport.

Adebisi promises more big announcements in the coming months.

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MAY 18, 2019, might just be the most diversely important day in international rugby league history.

Starting on the British domestic front, Toronto and Toulouse will take part in the Summer Bash at Blackpool, an event sure to get the blood rising if you’re a follower of an English club who doesn’t like these overseas interlopers

In London at New River Stadium, meanwhile, Greece and Norway face off in a sudden-death World Cup qualifier that’s been played as part of a double header with London Skolars v Doncaster game.

Still on the same day, Wigan and Catalans make history for the sport when they face off at Barcelona’s Nou Camp Stadium. Super League officials are hoping for a regular season record attendance.

And finally, there is already news of an Americas Nines being played in May, involving the United States, Canada, Jamaica and the Latin Heat. It would not surprise at all to see it played on the same day as these three other important events.

Whew! Which one to go to?

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RLIF chief executive Nigel Wood and his former chairman, John Grant, always argued that independent directors on their board was about better governance and greater independence.

The Aussies argued it was about the pair saving their own tails.

Well Grant is now gone but the RLIF have finally approved the addition of three independent directors. These men and women will have no link to any member governing body.

The proposal will be put to member countries in April.

“The addition of independent directors to the board provides a key opportunity for the organisation to incorporate other relevant backgrounds and experiences to work alongside the present board’s abilities,” said RLIF chairman Graeme Thompson.

“The unity of the Board on the governance reform package is very significant and we look forward to the final stage of engaging with our member nations and seeking their ultimate approval.”

The teams to compete in the World Cup Nines at Parramatta in October will be chosen by invitation.

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