The Lancashire County RFU was founded on 22nd December 1881 by a number of clubs within the historic County Palatine. Its main function was to organise county matches and cup competitions. After the breakaway of several major clubs to help form what became the Rugby Football League, the county went through some hard times both on and off the field. From the 1920s until the end of the amateur era however it developed into one of the major forces in the English game with many outstanding clubs, players and administrators. The advent of professionalism and a national league system changed the nature of its role with more emphasis on administration and development. The County however retains its passion for playing the game and for it being played at the highest possible level in its representative teams, its clubs, its schools, colleges and universities. It seeks to encourage individuals to enjoy all aspects of the game and is committed to having institutions to ensure that its core values are maintained. Today the County as a Constituent Body (CB) of the Rugby Football Union (RFU) acts as a conduit between the RFU and the Clubs in that County. Some clubs are full voting members of the RFU and others are only members of Lancashire. The full voting member clubs elect the two representatives from Lancashire to the Council of the RFU who promote the County’s interests while fulfilling duties as members of the National Governing Body. In promoting the game the CB is now aided by staff provided locally and nationally by the RFU and the County is committed to working closely with them to the benefit of all.
Duties and Responsibilities of a Constituent Body
The core purpose of a CB is defined by the RFU as being “to support the strengthening of member clubs and grow the game in communities around them by effective governance and administration”. To fulfil this purpose a CB has to undertake tasks and support RFU activity in six key areas to strengthen its member clubs and grow the game. These are to retain and develop current players; recruit new players; retain, develop and recruit high quality coaches, volunteers and referees; to provide effective and efficient facilities; to provide effective and efficient management and governance; promote integration with the local community. To this end the County promotes the core values of the game – teamwork, respect, enjoyment, discipline and enjoyment – to its clubs, schools, colleges and universities in the playing, development and administration of the game.
The CB has to provide positive and enthusiastic leadership to support a strong club structure so that more people play rugby more often. It recognises and rewards the contribution of volunteers, coaches and referees, and promotes involvement in rugby as a worthwhile and enjoyable activity. For this it administers the game locally and supports clubs, schools, colleges and universities by providing activity to meet their needs. The CB is therefore required to have a proficient and enthusiastic leadership team, undertake effective communication, support and work to the RFU Strategic Plan, work in partnership with the RFU staff nationally and locally, and ensure strong corporate governance.
A CB is charged by Rule 18 of the RFU Constitution with facilitating the administration of the game. The CB has to have a structure to ensure the representation of its clubs, schools, universities and colleges. It has specific responsibility for discipline, safeguarding, competition administration, provision of CB accounts to the RFU, match approvals (tours and tournaments) and age grade dispensations. With the support of RFU staff it puts into effect the ‘Planning, Funding and Reporting’ (PFR) process under which an annual plan is drawn up and costed to enable the provision of RFU funding for CB activity. It arranges and delivers CB and club development meetings, works closely with the Manchester and Liverpool Referee Societies and organises representative teams. Finally there are a number of areas in which CBs play a part, but which are mainly delivered or supported by RFU staff. These include development of rugby in schools, colleges and universities; player safety information and support; development of volunteers for leadership roles; investment in facilities; refereeing courses with referee societies; delivery of coaching courses; the developing player programme (DPP); delivery of technical information from RFU specialists; and delivery of national programmes such as All Schools and NatWest Rugby Force.