Manchester Met Business School scoops Rugby Football League leadership contract

As the 2018 rugby league Super League season kicks off, Manchester Metropolitan University Business School is celebrating a contract win for the sport’s national governing body, the Rugby Football League (RFL). The organisation has commissioned the business school to deliver a bespoke development programme aimed at improving its sustainability and leadership.

Running for ten months, during which time ten delegates from the RFL leadership group will attend six half-day sessions at Manchester Met, interspersed with workplace projects, the course has been two years in the planning. Teamwork, coaching and mentoring, change management and leadership all feature on the RFL’s tailored syllabus.

The course is based on the university’s acclaimed Masters of Sport Directorship (MSD), which qualifies its students for the role of sporting director and has attracted a host of high profile professional sports people including St Helens RFC CEO Mike Rush and Mark Bitcon, director of performance at Wigan Warriors.

Stephanie Sturges, programme leader at Manchester Metropolitan University Business School, said: “The RFL has made an innovative move to improve its sustainability and leadership structures and we got off to a great start with our inaugural session in January: the feedback from the delegates has been fantastic.

“Forward thinking sporting organisations are now acknowledging that they need to professionalise and actively support progression if they are to lead the way in promoting a successful organisation that leads by example across the whole sport.”

RFL finance director Tony Sutton said: “As Rugby League’s national governing body we want to invest in our people so that we have continued excellent leadership that will future proof us as an organisation and enable the RFL – and all levels of the sport – to operate as effectively as possible.

“This programme is an important step for us. We approached Manchester Metropolitan because they have proved with their superb MSD course and the high calibre of students it attracts that they are the leaders in this field, which merges the best in corporate governance with state of the art leadership in sporting organisations.”

The RFL employs 150 people between its Leeds-based headquarters and its Salford and London offices. The organisation manages the England Rugby League team, the Ladbrokes Challenge Cup, Betfred Super League, the Betfred Championship and League 1, and also supports and administers the grassroots game.