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First rugby league training session takes place in Honduras as sports expands in Central America

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FROM: RLEF MEDIA DEPARTMENT

DATE: 17 September, 2020

CONTACT: phil.caplan / +44 7850719412

FIRST RUGBY LEAGUE TRAINING SESSION TAKES PLACE IN HONDURAS AS SPORTS EXPANDS IN CENTRAL AMERICA

The first rugby league training session has been held in Honduras, in the town of La Esperanza.

It is a particularly poignant moment for Chris Reid, founder of the Confederación Centroamericana de Rugby League.

“La Esperanza is in the same state where my mother-in-law escaped to from El Salvador, and where my wife was born: Intibucá. It’s brought everything full circle.”

Queensland-born Reid decided that there was no reason why he shouldn’t share his love of his favoured sport with the new love of his life.

“El Salvador has one of the highest number of Latin American ex-pats now living in Australia. I started the El Salvador Rugby League back in 2014 and they made their debut at the Cabramatta 9s tournament the following year. Their full Test match bow was in 2016 in Sydney against Chile, which they lost 58-20, and they have since played Thailand, going down 20-10, but beaten Uruguay 22-14 and Colombia 48-10.”

Reid began fielding further enquiries in Central America and has been attempting to fuel pockets of interest since.

“Now I deal with the seven Central American countries – from North to South: Belize, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica and Panama,” he confirms.

“Nicaragua has been the standout amongst the Central American nations. We were able to very quickly raise four domestic teams – Ulua Managua, Diablos Rojos Managua, Chinandega Volcano and León Black Lion – and created Central America’s first ever domestic competition; The Campeonato Nicaragüense de Rugby League, that ran in late 2019.

“The Grand Final ended with Ulua Managua defeating Managua Diablos Rojos, 23-6, in Managua. Jonathan Aguirre Espinoza and Alberto Aburto there who have done tremendous work on the ground there.”

Understandably, the global pandemic has brought a halt to some of the planned development work. “We have groups in Belize and Costa Rica wanting to play but with coronavirus it has put a stop to progress,” he says disappointedly. “Once Covid is out of the way we plan to help them and Hondurus begin to learn the game. The plan is for an annual Central American tournament between the national teams. It will likely start out small but will grow to include all seven.”

Reid, 33, has set up two projects for anyone interested to follow and be a part of.

“One is setting up a patreon page in order to gain enough subscribers to hire a full-time development officer for Central America: https://www.patreon.com/CCRugbyLeague The second is a YouTube channel we’ve started in order to create ‘how to’ rugby league content, so that those becoming interested have immediate access to a basic resource – https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCpZ-AXCu_dgLkpvJmKDna9w?view_as=subscriber

Images –

IMG 20200914 – Raul Gamez leads training in Honduras

Alvaro – Alvaro Alarcon, El Salvador captain playing against Colombia in 2018

PHIL CAPLAN

RLEF MEDIA OFFICER

Tel: 07850 719412

E-mail: phil.caplan

Web: http://www.rlef.eu.com

RLEF

The Rugby League European Federation

55 King Street,

Manchester M2 4LQ

This e-mail (including any attachments) is intended only for the recipient(s) named above. It may contain confidential or privileged information and should not be read, copied or otherwise used without prior written consent. Statements or opinions may be expressed in this e-mail that are personal to the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the RLEF.

The RLEF is not bound by any contract or obligation created by this e-mail and excludes all liability to you or any third party in respect of its contents (to the maximum extent permitted by the law).

It is the responsibility of the recipient to ensure that opening this message and/or any of its attachments will not adversely affect its systems. No responsibility is accepted by the RLEF. If you are not the named recipient, please contact the sender and delete the e-mail from your system.

Rugby League European Federation hosts successful Congress

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FROM: RLEF MEDIA DEPARTMENT

DATE: 13 September, 2020

CONTACT: phil.caplan / +44 7850719412

RUGBY LEAGUE EUROPEAN FEDERATION HOSTS SUCCESSFUL CONGRESS

“Moving forward together” was the keynote from the Rugby League European Federation annual congress and ACM, held virtually on Saturday. Over 30 countries gathered online, among them Rugby Football League CEO Ralph Rimmer.

The Council overwhelmingly supported the board’s proposal to initiate a governance review, which would have built into it member input at all stages and independent assessment. The Council also strongly supported Serbia’s call for an increased domestic player quota in various European Championship competitions.

Graeme Thompson was re-elected as a member-elected director of the RLEF board and joined by Wales RL chair Brian Juliff, who replaces Serbia’s Colin Kleyweg. Mahdi Choudhury had his appointment as an independent director ratified.

RLEF chair, Maurice Watkins, CBE, commented: “It was excellent to see, if not be with, everyone and commend them on their work at such a trying time. We would like to thank Colin for his valuable contribution as a board member over the last two years. I welcome Brian, his long term experience in the sport will be an asset to us.

“The frank, robust and honest debate we expected was not compromised by the circumstances of the meeting and everyone who contributed spoke positively about moving rugby league forward,” Watkins added. “In many respects, this is the dawning of the next era. We will have a new general manager in place soon and the governance review will enable us to ensure that we emerge into a new period of our development.”

PHIL CAPLAN

RLEF MEDIA OFFICER

Tel: 07850 719412

E-mail: phil.caplan

Web: http://www.rlef.eu.com

RLEF

The Rugby League European Federation

55 King Street,

Manchester M2 4LQ

This e-mail (including any attachments) is intended only for the recipient(s) named above. It may contain confidential or privileged information and should not be read, copied or otherwise used without prior written consent. Statements or opinions may be expressed in this e-mail that are personal to the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the RLEF.

The RLEF is not bound by any contract or obligation created by this e-mail and excludes all liability to you or any third party in respect of its contents (to the maximum extent permitted by the law).

It is the responsibility of the recipient to ensure that opening this message and/or any of its attachments will not adversely affect its systems. No responsibility is accepted by the RLEF. If you are not the named recipient, please contact the sender and delete the e-mail from your system.

Rugby League European Federation prepares for Congress

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FROM: RLEF MEDIA DEPARTMENT

DATE: 9 September, 2020

CONTACT: phil.caplan / +44 7850719412

RUGBY LEAGUE EUROPEAN FEDERATION PREPARES FOR CONGRESS

Despite travel restrictions due to the ongoing effects of coronavirus, over 25 nations from three continents will meet virtually this weekend for the latest annual Rugby League European Federation congress and council meeting.

Chair Maurice Watkins, CBE, commented: “This get together is one of the highlights of the year when we can all catch up, compare notes, share experiences and best practice. Naturally in the present climate we can’t meet face-to-face but it is the next best option and I commend all the delegates for making it happen.

“We are all looking forward to the usual series of robust debates and welcome the spread of proposals and discussion topics. The agenda is wide-ranging and I expect the conversations to be both frank and meaningful. The fact that there is so much to talk about is again a credit to the progress being made across the confederations, and the willingness of the delegates to come to the table to seek the best solutions for the sport as a whole. The RLEF board welcomes the opportunity for such constructive communication.”

Among the congress workshops scheduled are: governance and articles of association, player registrations, raising profile through social media, Americas group session, Middle East Africa group session, and Covid-19 impact and medical protocols.

The workshops will be followed by the ACM which will include the results of the member-elected director appointments, installation of an independent director, and discussion on various submitted resolutions.

PHIL CAPLAN

RLEF MEDIA OFFICER

Tel: 07850 719412

E-mail: phil.caplan

Web: http://www.rlef.eu.com

RLEF

The Rugby League European Federation

55 King Street,

Manchester M2 4LQ

This e-mail (including any attachments) is intended only for the recipient(s) named above. It may contain confidential or privileged information and should not be read, copied or otherwise used without prior written consent. Statements or opinions may be expressed in this e-mail that are personal to the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the RLEF.

The RLEF is not bound by any contract or obligation created by this e-mail and excludes all liability to you or any third party in respect of its contents (to the maximum extent permitted by the law).

It is the responsibility of the recipient to ensure that opening this message and/or any of its attachments will not adversely affect its systems. No responsibility is accepted by the RLEF. If you are not the named recipient, please contact the sender and delete the e-mail from your system.

Rugby League is 125 years old today!

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Rugby League – 125 years old today!

The sport of rugby league is celebrating its 125th birthday. The game was born on August 29th, 1895 when 21 clubs met at the George Hotel in Huddersfield, England and established the Northern Rugby Football Union, which became the Rugby Football League in 1922.

From that original group of clubs there are now thousands of clubs based around the world in over 53 countries.

International Rugby League Chair, Greg Barclay has sent his best wishes to the players, fans, clubs and IRL members around the world saying;

“This is a proud day for everyone involved in our great sport. We have a very long and proud history which deserves to be recognised across the sporting landscape.

“Throughout the history of the game we have seen, and we continue to see the heights of sporting endeavour played out in front of knowledgeable audiences drawn from communities that are steeped on the values of rugby league.

“I would like to pay tribute to those that have gone before, offer my thanks and admiration to those currently involved and encouragement to those who are still to discover this great game.

“Next year will see the latest iteration of the oldest rugby world cup when we gather in England to enjoy RLWC2021, it will be a sporting event to rival anything and we are all looking forward to it.

“Happy Birthday, Rugby League!”

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International Rugby League Festival of World Cups

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Following consultation with the competing nations and Rugby League World Cup 2021 (RLWC2021) organisers, the Board of International Rugby League (IRL) has decided to postpone the Festival of World Cups (FOWC) which was scheduled to be held in England in June and July 2021. The decision is based upon the uncertainty faced by nations trying to raise funds and organise their participation against the backdrop of the current pandemic.

The FOWC was scheduled to include men’s student and defence forces competitions and a women’s emerging nations tournament.

Nigel Wood, chief executive officer of IRL commented on the announcement saying;

“It is unfortunate but understandable that member nations are unable to fully commit to these competitions at this stage. There is such a degree of uncertainty in the selection of squads and their fund-raising efforts that it makes sense to move the events to a time when there will be greater clarity.”

Consultation with members and the hosts will begin immediately to establish the best alternative arrangement.

Jon Dutton, chief executive, Rugby League World Cup 2021 said:

“Clearly we are disappointed that the Festival of World Cups will not be able to go ahead as planned in 2021. We look forward to future plans being made that will support these tournaments to take place and enable the on-going development of international Rugby League.”

“As the Rugby League World Cup 2021 we are still committed to delivering the Masters International event, in Newcastle, and Physical Disability Rugby League event, in Warrington, in October 2021 as part of our wider programme.”

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Ireland Rugby League Grand Final this weekend postponed due to increased Covid-19 restrictions

PRESS RELEASE – FOR IMMEDIATE DISTRIBUTION

FROM: RLEF MEDIA DEPARTMENT

DATE: 20 August, 2020

CONTACT: phil.caplan / +44 7850719412

IRELAND RUGBY LEAGUE GRAND FINAL THIS WEEKEND POSTPONED DUE TO INCREASED COVID-19 RESTRICTIONS

Having successfully played out their truncated domestic season during August involving six clubs, Ireland Rugby League has had to delay their triple-header finals day – due to be held in Claddagh, Galway on Saturday – owing to reintroduced coronavirus restrictions in the region.

After completing three weekends, with the sides split into two groups, Galway Tribesmen and Longhorns were due to contest the Grand Final, with Cork Bulls and Dublin City Exiles playing out for third place, and Barrowcudas and Athboy Rams contesting fifth spot.

Ireland RL Chairman Dave Fitzhenry commented: “Last March RLI was not sure we would see players take to the pitches at all. Credit must go to our Covid planning committee and, following Sport Ireland’s guidelines, we got to our Grand Final day.

“Unfortunately we have had to postpone the event until September due to the revised restrictions with the health and safety of all involved naturally paramount. On a positive note, we thought at one stage we wouldn’t see rugby league this season but we now have an extra club and several new ones from regions around the country looking to join our leagues next season.”

The deciding matches will be rearranged in line with advice from the government.

PHIL CAPLAN

RLEF MEDIA OFFICER

Tel: 07850 719412

E-mail: phil.caplan

Web: http://www.rlef.eu.com

RLEF

The Rugby League European Federation

55 King Street,

Manchester M2 4LQ

This e-mail (including any attachments) is intended only for the recipient(s) named above. It may contain confidential or privileged information and should not be read, copied or otherwise used without prior written consent. Statements or opinions may be expressed in this e-mail that are personal to the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the RLEF.

The RLEF is not bound by any contract or obligation created by this e-mail and excludes all liability to you or any third party in respect of its contents (to the maximum extent permitted by the law).

It is the responsibility of the recipient to ensure that opening this message and/or any of its attachments will not adversely affect its systems. No responsibility is accepted by the RLEF. If you are not the named recipient, please contact the sender and delete the e-mail from your system.

Signs of a return to rugby league activity in Europe

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FROM: RLEF MEDIA DEPARTMENT

DATE: 10 August, 2020

CONTACT: phil.caplan / +44 7850719412

SIGNS OF A RETURN TO RUGBY LEAGUE ACTIVITY IN EUROPE

A round up of potential return to play activity across the RLEF regions following widespread lockdown due to the coronavirus pandemic, shows a varied picture.

Positive signs have come from Czechia where Lukáš Hergott, prezident of the Česká Asociace Rugby League confirms: “We have rescheduled, League 1 will start on 29 August with four teams (from seven clubs) competing in a full home and away format which should end by 8 November. It’s unclear yet if there will be a play-off with a Grand Final or not. League 2 will start on 22 August with three clubs (and unlimited interchanges), that competition should end by 31 October and we will review promotion from it.

“Looking ahead, we are putting together our ‘Strategy to Grow’ plan for the next ten years which will initially centre around moving to four sides in each division to enable formal recognition of the sport (we currently have 232 registered players and need 300); and a spring season focussed on 9s and U15 tournaments.”

In Russia, the Moscow Cup should begin this month with midweek matches between four clubs, and the Cup of Russia held in November/December 2020 involving 20 clubs covering five regions, with a double-header semi final. January-March 2021 should see the Russian Super League commence with up to eight of the best teams competing, whilst two 9s tournaments are scheduled take place in July and August 2021.

Belgium RL is also formulating a new development plan for the next three years, with the aim of the aim of becoming an affiliate member of the RLEF. As part of it, a new club has been formed in Brussels, the Bulls, and according to BRLA president, Zakaria Zoubir, there is an anticipated return for the national side which has been in hiatus for three years.

Whilst no domestic activities are currently planned in Albania, their leading club side Tirana is scheduled to participate in the Greek League next season for the first time, where another new club from just outside Athens, Perama Eagles, has been formed.

Rugby League Ireland is running a shortened domestic season for six clubs throughout August in two groups comprising: Group A – Barrow Cudas, Galway Tribesmen, Cork Bulls; and Group B – Longhorns, Dublin Exiles, Athboy.

Turkey RL has cancelled a Balkan U18 tournament and put their international beach rugby league festival on hold, and there is no open age domestic activity yet in Norway although a 9s tournament in October is planned. However, kids and youth training up to the age of 19 there is starting to recommence.

Germany are planning a coaching course and national training weekend for when they return, and the French Elite Leagues are scheduled to restart at the end of October.

In the Ukraine, the rugby league authorities are awaiting confirmation from the government as to a resumption but have said that they would like to hold a beach tournament in Odesa on 22 August as a forerunner to their Cup starting the following week, along with U16 and U19 competitions. The URLA Super League and U12 and U14 age groups are set to begin some time in September.

Serbian RL restarted on 6 June and was again stopped on 9 July because of a rise in Covid-19 rates. They are hoping to get back later this month, SRLF commissioner for rugby league competition, Dragan Pavlovic, commenting: “The situation with the virus has worsened and an emergency situation has been introduced in many cities, which includes bans on public gatherings of more than 10 people.

“In such circumstances, the competition commission was forced to interrupt the season for a second time. Unlike the first, although the fixtures are interrupted, the work of the clubs and the federation is not. The summer camp for promising athletes – with the support of the Ministry of Youth and Sports of the Republic of Serbia – went ahead recently for 35 young players from all domestic clubs and the younger ones who play in Serbian women’s national team, under the supervision of five coaches.”

All activity in the Middle East, Africa, Americas and Jamaica is currently paused under lockdown.

PHIL CAPLAN

RLEF MEDIA OFFICER

Tel: 07850 719412

E-mail: phil.caplan

Web: http://www.rlef.eu.com

RLEF

The Rugby League European Federation

55 King Street,

Manchester M2 4LQ

This e-mail (including any attachments) is intended only for the recipient(s) named above. It may contain confidential or privileged information and should not be read, copied or otherwise used without prior written consent. Statements or opinions may be expressed in this e-mail that are personal to the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the RLEF.

The RLEF is not bound by any contract or obligation created by this e-mail and excludes all liability to you or any third party in respect of its contents (to the maximum extent permitted by the law).

It is the responsibility of the recipient to ensure that opening this message and/or any of its attachments will not adversely affect its systems. No responsibility is accepted by the RLEF. If you are not the named recipient, please contact the sender and delete the e-mail from your system.

Rugby League European Federation advertise for new general manager

PRESS RELEASE – FOR IMMEDIATE DISTRIBUTION

FROM: RLEF MEDIA DEPARTMENT

DATE: 30 July, 2020

CONTACT: phil.caplan / +44 7850719412

RUGBY LEAGUE EUROPEAN FEDERATION ADVERTISE FOR NEW GENERAL MANAGER

The Rugby League European Federation (RLEF), the governing body for the sport in Europe, the Americas and Middle East Africa, is advertising for a new general manager. At the heart of the role is the requirement to lead the executive function of the organisation, together with being responsible for implementing its vision statement and planning its strategic direction.

There is a strong need to be able to maintain effective relationships, including with the European Commission and other public sector agencies to access grant funding, together with proven leadership ability and excellence in communicating in a multi-cultural environment.

The job description also includes a focus on commercial activity including income generation – particularly through the promotion of major events such as the confederation Championships – alongside the need for clear and positive management of the employed and volunteer staff.

RLEF board member Graeme Thompson commented: “The position of general manager is a lynchpin in our organisation. Working strategically with the board, the preferred candidate will need to operate in close conjunction with the confederation managers and to provide continual support to our member nations. This is an exciting opportunity for someone wanting to undertake a pivotal executive role in the international development of our sport. We are very keen to hear from all who believe that they can build on the present position and take the RLEF on to the next stage.”

To see a full job description and for an informal discussion on the role, please contact Graeme Thompson (graeme.thompson) or see rlef.eu.com. Applications in the form of a CV and covering letter of up to 1000 words are required to be sent to Graeme Thompson prior to 5pm UK time on 31 August 2020.

PHIL CAPLAN

RLEF MEDIA OFFICER

Tel: 07850 719412

E-mail: phil.caplan

Web: http://www.rlef.eu.com

RLEF

The Rugby League European Federation

55 King Street,

Manchester M2 4LQ

This e-mail (including any attachments) is intended only for the recipient(s) named above. It may contain confidential or privileged information and should not be read, copied or otherwise used without prior written consent. Statements or opinions may be expressed in this e-mail that are personal to the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the RLEF.

The RLEF is not bound by any contract or obligation created by this e-mail and excludes all liability to you or any third party in respect of its contents (to the maximum extent permitted by the law).

It is the responsibility of the recipient to ensure that opening this message and/or any of its attachments will not adversely affect its systems. No responsibility is accepted by the RLEF. If you are not the named recipient, please contact the sender and delete the e-mail from your system.

Debut nations galvanised by 2021 Rugby League World Cup draw

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FROM: RLEF MEDIA DEPARTMENT

DATE: 22 July, 2020

CONTACT: phil.caplan / +44 7850719412

DEBUT NATIONS GALVANISED BY 2021 RUGBY LEAGUE WORLD CUP DRAW

Debut nations across the men’s, women’s and wheelchair variants of the 2021 Rugby League World Cup, which will be held together for the first time in England next year, have expressed their enhanced excitement following yesterday’s fixture reveal.

Brazil’s women will open their competition against the hosts in a double header at Emerald Headingley Stadium, Leeds on November 9, team manager Rob Burgin commenting: “The Amazonas are excited to give a strong account of themselves, for Latin America and on behalf of all developing nations. To have our nation of 210 million people facing hosts England in the women’s World Cup opener was something we could only dream of a few short years ago. The squad is already training hard and determined to bring the most entertaining facets of rugby league to fresh eyes around the world.”

Norway make their wheelchair bow at London’s Copperbox Arena facing Spain two days later, and Norway RL president Karl-Fredrik Velle noted: “The schedule gives us enough rest between games to help us focus on developing the sport during the World Cup. Our team is motivated and ready for the big event. Right now we don’t know when we can have regular training again because of Covid-19 restrictions but this is a real boost for us to look forward to.”

In the men’s tournament, Greece face France in their opener in Doncaster on October 25, in a group with England and Samoa. Head coach Steve Georgallis confirmed: “We’re extremely excited to be part of the Rugby League World Cup in 2021. Clearly the opening match is a history-making occasion for everyone involved with Rugby League in Greece and all those around the world who have supported us on this long journey.

“All our matches are against nations of the highest quality, that is a challenge that everyone is looking forward too. We are so lucky to be playing the host nation England at the magnificent Bramall Lane ground, our home base in Sheffield. The city has a high Greek population and we hope they get behind us and enjoy this once-in-a-life time event.”

There is similar anticipation in Jamaica, who become the first Caribbean nation to play in the finals series. They open against Ireland also in Leeds on October 25; New Zealand and Lebanon in their group. Head coach Romeo Monteith said: “We are very excited to open our World Cup campaign against Ireland. They are a solid team and we hope to be able to match them step-for-step and produce a spectacle for the fans. Facing New Zealand second will be a tough assignment but we will be ready to put our best foot forward. We have Lebanon last and we know they are a quality team. Like us, they are a developing nation in the sport and this bodes well for another fantastic fixture.”

The full draw can be found here – https://www.rlwc2021.com/schedule

PHIL CAPLAN

RLEF MEDIA OFFICER

Tel: 07850 719412

E-mail: phil.caplan

Web: http://www.rlef.eu.com

RLEF

The Rugby League European Federation

55 King Street,

Manchester M2 4LQ

This e-mail (including any attachments) is intended only for the recipient(s) named above. It may contain confidential or privileged information and should not be read, copied or otherwise used without prior written consent. Statements or opinions may be expressed in this e-mail that are personal to the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the RLEF.

The RLEF is not bound by any contract or obligation created by this e-mail and excludes all liability to you or any third party in respect of its contents (to the maximum extent permitted by the law).

It is the responsibility of the recipient to ensure that opening this message and/or any of its attachments will not adversely affect its systems. No responsibility is accepted by the RLEF. If you are not the named recipient, please contact the sender and delete the e-mail from your system.

Rugby League European Federation statement on Euro XIIIs

PRESS RELEASE – FOR IMMEDIATE DISTRIBUTION

FROM: RLEF MEDIA DEPARTMENT

DATE: 20 July, 2020

CONTACT: phil.caplan / +44 7850719412

RUGBY LEAGUE EUROPEAN FEDERATION STATEMENT ON EURO XIIIS

The Rugby League European Federation board has not received the additional financial information asked for from the organisers of the planned Euro XIIIs club competition and, as a result, will not be formally endorsing it.

A statement from the governing body confirmed, ‘Whilst we recognise the aims of the tournament, including the opportunity for increased participation in the sport – which we all seek – without the full requested financial detail, we cannot make a comprehensive assessment of the competition and its viability. Therefore, we are not in a position to endorse it nor seek to collaborate on its delivery.’

PHIL CAPLAN

RLEF MEDIA OFFICER

Tel: 07850 719412

E-mail: phil.caplan

Web: http://www.rlef.eu.com

RLEF

The Rugby League European Federation

55 King Street,

Manchester M2 4LQ

This e-mail (including any attachments) is intended only for the recipient(s) named above. It may contain confidential or privileged information and should not be read, copied or otherwise used without prior written consent. Statements or opinions may be expressed in this e-mail that are personal to the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the RLEF.

The RLEF is not bound by any contract or obligation created by this e-mail and excludes all liability to you or any third party in respect of its contents (to the maximum extent permitted by the law).

It is the responsibility of the recipient to ensure that opening this message and/or any of its attachments will not adversely affect its systems. No responsibility is accepted by the RLEF. If you are not the named recipient, please contact the sender and delete the e-mail from your system.