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Another First for Rugby League as the RFL Signs Muslim Athlete Charter

April 4, 2022

Wakefield Trinity’s Sid Adebiyi, a practicing Muslim – Allan McKenzie/

The Rugby Football League (RFL) has become English sport’s first national governing body to sign the Muslim Athlete Charter.

Developed by London-based Nujum Sports, the charter aims to encourage the active involvement of Muslim athletes in sport, and to advance inclusion and diversity at all levels. The RFL will use the charter as a framework to ensure that Muslim players and staff are supported in their environment to be able to practice their faith while playing and working in rugby league.

The RFL announcement coincides with Wakefield Trinity’s inclusion round fixtures – Sunday’s double-header featured Salford Red Devils and Oulton Raidettes against the Yorkshire club’s men and women respectively. Trinity’s inclusion round also showcased the club’s learning and physical disability teams, who this year will be sponsored by Nujum Sports – the company’s first ever sports sponsorship.

“Muslim athletes contribute a huge amount to various sports globally both on and off the field, including significantly to rugby league,” said the RFL’s inclusion lead Ben Abberstein. “By being the first national governing body in England to sign the Muslim Athlete Charter, the RFL is sending a positive message to the game and to the wider sporting world of the importance of ensuring that we create a truly inclusive environment for all.

“Signing the Muslim Athlete Charter reinforces our Tackle It action plan commitment to making Rugby League a more inclusive sport that can be enjoyed by everyone. Tackle It is Rugby League’s plan to meet discrimination head on, break down any barriers to involvement and grow the game. We’re making progress in key areas, with more players and more teams in new areas, and greater diversity within the game at all levels, but there’s lots more to do. Today is another step along the way.”

Nujum Sports is a London-based not-for-profit organisation, launched in 2020, that aims to support Muslim athletes flourish and fulfil their potential. Wolverhampton Wanderers, Middlesex County Cricket Club and the Football Association of Wales are among an increasing number of organisations from the wider sporting world to have signed the charter. 

“The RFL, like Wakefield Trinity and increasing numbers of clubs across many major sports, is joining a positive movement of solidarity, equality and recognition of the contribution Muslims make in their respective clubs and teams,” added Ebadur Rahman, Najum Sports chief executive officer. 

“Whilst the Rugby Football League today becomes the first national sporting governing body in England to sign the Muslim Athlete Charter, and I commend them for making this important statement of intent, they will not be the last as we progress to become a more inclusive and understanding society.”  

During March the RFL hosted workshops with clubs and staff to learn about Ramadan and to develop understanding of the needs of Muslims in rugby league. And this week the RFL has been working with Nujum Sports to recognise and celebrate players, coaches and match officials to get the most they can from their sport during Ramadan with the delivery of Ramadan gift boxes, which include expert nutritional advice and key items for Muslim athletes during the month of Ramadan.