22 episodes

Graeme Thompson, a former Scottish international player, and board member of both the Rugby League European Federation and International Rugby League, speaks to founding figures and leading lights of Rugby League's development across Europe.

Talking European Rugby League Rugby League European Federation

    • Sports

Graeme Thompson, a former Scottish international player, and board member of both the Rugby League European Federation and International Rugby League, speaks to founding figures and leading lights of Rugby League's development across Europe.

    Talking European Rugby League - Roman Ovchinnokov

    Talking European Rugby League - Roman Ovchinnokov

    In episode twenty-two of ‘Talking European Rugby League’ Graeme Thompson meets Roman Ovchinnokov. Roman lives in Moscow and started playing Rugby League aged eight for his father's team - Lokomotiv Moscow. Roman describes the secret to the success of Lokomotiv winning 10 Russian Championships, in his time playing for them. He recalls his international debut versus USA in Moscow in front of a crowd of 35,000. He recalls his time at West Tigers, which the-then Russia coach, Tim Sheens, organised for him. He remains very involved in Rugby League, including seeing his own son start playing the sport just as his father and grandfather. He outlines his hopes for the future of Rugby League in Russia.

    • 40 min
    Talking European Rugby League - Danny Kazandjian 2

    Talking European Rugby League - Danny Kazandjian 2

    In episode twenty-one of ‘Talking European Rugby League’ Graeme Thompson meets, again, Danny Kazandjian. This second discussion with Danny, focuses on his time as General Manager of the European Rugby League Federation from 2010 to 2018. He gives an insight into the intricacies of putting together an international calendar for both mature and fledging nations. He recalls the development of the game's footprint into Africa and some of the partnership working that was created to harness progress. Furthermore, on partnerships, he discussed how it was started with the European Union and led to numerous projects with them, which have been very significant in developing European Nations in respect of match official/coach education and governance.

    • 47 min
    Talking European Rugby League - Tom Mather

    Talking European Rugby League - Tom Mather

    It’s episode 20 of Talking European Rugby League and Graeme Thompson meets long-term RLEF Match Official Manager Tom Mather.



    Here, Tom recounts his own career as an official and his journey towards becoming an officials educator. He highlights how significant it is for match officials, like players, to achieve international debuts.

    In 2014 Tom found himself to be the sole person in the world refereeing an international match between Ukraine and Russia in 2014, whilst the countries were at war with each other over the Crimea. Tom offers insight into how Europe has developed to having a diverse set of match officials across the Confederation, including local educators. Finally, he looks to the future and would dearly love to see some of those he has worked with in the last 10 years progress to World Cup officiating.

    • 45 min
    Talking European Rugby League - Christophe Jouffret

    Talking European Rugby League - Christophe Jouffret

    Christophe Jouffret is Graeme Thompson’s guest on episode 19 of ‘Talking European Rugby League’. Christophe has had long involvement with Rugby League and been part of the leadership at the two most important organisations in France: the French Federation and Catalan Dragons. Christophe offers a unique insight gained from working with the RFL to bring in a French team into Super League, choosing which club that would be and, in time, joining the successful entrant: Catalan Dragons. He describes the nature of the relationship between France and England, and how France sought to help other European nations. Christophe recalls the elation of winning the Challenge Cup and reveals what he is most proud of over the last 20 years.

    • 45 min
    Talking European Rugby League - George Stilanos

    Talking European Rugby League - George Stilanos

    In episode 18 of ‘Talking European Rugby League’, Graeme Thompson meets George Stilanos - a central figure in Greek Rugby League for over a decade. Born and bred in Brisbane, George moved to his ancestral homeland, specifically Athens, in 2008. Here George recalls how he set up new players and domestic clubs, including overseeing the journey of players from their very first introduction to the game through to playing for their national team. George also provides unique insight into the famous ‘Midnight  Cup Final’, played during a difficult period of administrative politics for the sport in Greece. He recalls the key challenges to Greece men qualifying for 2021 World Cup, including a nail-biting win in Ukraine. Finally, George defines what success will look like for him for Greek RL from the 2021 World Cup.

    • 45 min
    Talking European Rugby League - Martin Crick

    Talking European Rugby League - Martin Crick

    In episode seventeen of ‘Talking European Rugby League’ Graeme Thompson meets Martin Crick . Martin has led coach education for the last decade for the Rugby League European Federation. He describes his long history with the game and how Danny Kazandjian got him initially involved with RLEF. He recalls several trips and highlights the need to be adaptive to local knowledge of rugby league and cultural issues. He covers not just activity delivered in Europe but  Americas and Middle East and Africa and how as an educator he seeks to assist them learn about the game and revels in their enthusiasm for Rugby League.

    • 31 min

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