RL Players Portal

Rugby League Cares has stepped up its support for current and former players by developing a new online resource designed to help the game’s heroes thrive both during and after their playing careers.

The Rugby League Players Portal sets out to become a one-stop shop featuring all the advice and information players – and, importantly, their families – need to be successful and fulfilled on and off the field.

RL Cares took on responsibility for delivering player welfare services to full and part-time players in 2019, a role that had previously been held by the Rugby Football League. Building on the good work of the RFL’s former Welfare Director Emma Rosewarne, RL Cares has since invested heavily in a comprehensive player welfare programme which is now recognised as amongst the best in the world.

The RL Players Portal brings together much of the welfare content already in the public domain as well as a wealth of material shared by other sports and videos and articles specially-commissioned by the charity.

Much of the content is video-based in recognition of the trend of information consumption by young men and women.

There are also written articles covering issues such as career planning, personal development and managing personal finances, the portal includes case studies from players sharing their own experiences of both achieving success and tackling tough times.

There are links to RL Cares’s official partners, all of whom are experts in their field and able to offer unrivalled levels of service and advice to the playing community.

The development of the RL Players Portal has been spearheaded by RL Cares Transition Manager Francis Stephenson, who is establishing a specially-convened panel of individuals with expertise in a wide range of fields across the sport to ensure the portal is regularly updated with interesting, relevant and informative content.

Stephenson, the former Wakefield, London, Wigan and Hull KR prop, said: “All the information on the portal supports our player welfare programme: we hope the stories featured, especially case studies from recently retired players, will help inspire the current generation to learn from the experiences of those who have gone before them.

“Our players can learn not just from their peers but from athletes in other sports. If we find, for example, a particular topic involving a jockey, a golfer or an NFL player, and it’s relevant to the journeys our players are on then we’ll share it on the portal.

“The aim is to make the portal a one-stop shop for best practise and advise for all players, whether that’s during- or post-career.”

The RL Players Portal augments the sterling work being done at club level by dedicated player welfare managers, who will help shape and influence much of the content that is shared on the portal.

RL Cares brings the club welfare managers together on a regular basis to share best practice and offers a wide range of professional career developmental opportunities for the people occupying these important roles.

“RL Cares has a fantastic approach to player welfare, we endeavour to be best in class and aim to deliver one of the best welfare programmes in sport,” added Stephenson.

“The strides we have taken in the last few years since we took on responsibility for delivering player welfare from the RFL are immense.

“We have moved the bar in the right direction but we are always striving to improve: the RL Players Portal allows us to do that.”

The portal replaces the Player Welfare Manual that was printed annually by the Rugby Football League until 2018 and will continually evolve with new content appearing weekly, all of it tailored to meet the needs of players, both past and present from the men’s, women’s and wheelchair games.

“We will create much of the new content ourselves but will also look to gather in credible information from other sports that are relatable to our players,” added Stephenson.

“The portal will also direct players to individuals and organisations where help and advice is available.”

RL Cares will also create a section of the portal featuring advice and information to help Academy and scholarship players, and is committing to providing enhanced content aimed specifically at women and girls.

Club officials, welfare managers and players themselves are being constantly consulted about the nature of the content on the portal, which has already received overwhelmingly positive feedback from peer reviews over recent weeks.

The RL Players Portal can be accessed by visiting www.rlplayersportal.co.uk/