On this day in Yorkshire: August 29th 1895- Rugby League is born in Huddersfield

On this day in 1895 a meeting took place which would change the sport of rugby forever. The issue of professionalism had come to a head, with the Northern Clubs demanding the right to compensate their players for missing work to train and play the sport. This was met with stiff opposition from the Southern based RFU, who punished clubs which gave their players financial reward. Around the same time, both cricket and association football had allowed professionalism into their sports. Rugby was still holding firm to the amateur ideal, which put off working class lads from taking up the sport in fear of losing money, especially if they became injured and could not work. The Northern Clubs felt something should be done and called a meeting to be held at the George Hotel in Huddersfield on 29th August 1895. The meeting  involved 21 northern rugby clubs from across the North of England, especially the heartlands of Yorkshire and Lancashire. Its outcome was the formation of a new governing body, the Northern Rugby Football Union, which incorporated all 21 clubs present at the meeting, except for Dewsbury, who did not agree with the new proposals. Stockport and Runcorn were added to make 22 teams who would break away from the RFU to form their own competitions, rules and the game we now know as Rugby League.

 

Picture credit: Dr Neil Clifton wikipedia creative commons