Valencia putting Rugby League on the map in Spain
The launch of a new Rugby League team in Spain - Valencia Huracanes is expected to help put the sport on the map in a country more associated with football. But Rugby League already has a strong following and this can only get stronger according to the club's Dean Buchan.
Buchan, a successful businessman who lives in Spain, heads up a consortium at Valencia and he recently told the Daily Mirror:
“We believe we’ve got a perfect storm of ingredients to make it a success.
“The Comunidad de Valenciana has a population of 4.9 million and includes places like Alicante and Benidorm that are home to almost 400,000 ex-pats, many of who enjoy rugby league. Add to that the 12 million tourists to the region each year and its clear that we can open Rugby League to much more than just the Spanish market.”
Buchan has also addressed issues over travelling costs for supporters and long-term player development.
He continued: “I regularly fly to England for €80 return.
“It’s only two hours away and with flights available from most UK airports daily, fans can come out for the weekend and enjoy rugby league in the sun probably cheaper than some UK based clubs.
“The big plus regarding our proposal is that rugby league is already being played in the region - there are eight to 10 amateur clubs playing to a decent level and Spain are playing Ireland this weekend in a World Cup qualifier in Valencia.
“We want 50 percent of the squad from day one to be Spanish and our model doesn’t rely on one billionaire owner – our plan is to be sustainable moving forward.”
Plans are also in motion to bring, St Helens, Salford and Featherstone over to Spain in the New Year for a training camp and pre-season double-header tournament, with the home side facing Featherstone and St Helens and Salford producing a re-run of the 'Grand Final.'.
They intend to play in the domestic Spanish competition next year and are currently building a team that they believe could be competitive in the third tier of the English game in 2021. They have also asked to enter the Challenge Cup in the upcoming 2020 season.
To follow the club you can visit their newly launched website at www.valenciahuracanes.com