The Iberdrola Rugby League has arrived
Jaime González Castaño, Director of the Higher Sports Council, Carmen Cabrera, head of Iberdrola sponsorships, Isabel Pérez, vice-chairman of the Spanish Rugby Federation, and Alhambra Nievas, voted the best referee in the world by World Rugby and ambassador for the Women and Rugby programme, presented the new Iberdrola Rugby League along with representatives of all the clubs from the old Iberdrola Division of Honour and of Spanish rugby.
Isabel Pérez started her presentation by affirming that "Iberdrola's arrival has enabled us to form a League with 8 teams and 14 rounds and this will help improve the playing level and have a knock-on effect on the national side", and, from the federation's point of view, she added, "we also want it to be a mirror for grass roots rugby and we're sure it will be".
Next Alhambra Nievas spoke and thanked everyone for "filling the room, which isn't as easy as it looks and means that the energy and unity of all the clubs is on the right track". Speaking from her international perspective, she affirmed that "Spanish women's rugby is highly regarded, but I think we have to aim for more, because the leap forward in quality that the competition is going to take with the Iberdrola League with home and away games and a rugby 7s League with 3 series is sure to give us a boost."
Carmen Cabrera, representing Iberdrola, underlined that the company sponsors rugby because it is "one of the sports in which the concept of the team is best expressed". She finished her presentation by saying "last year was very positive, sportswomen are very happy, it helps that the conditions in which they practice their sports have improved and they can achieve their goals more easily and it is rewarding to see that this trend is continuing".
And Jaime González Castaño closed the event by declaring himself "very happy to be able to support you today in presenting the Iberdrola Rugby League, which is a continuation of a solid, well established project that is having a fantastic impact on sport in general and on the public-private sponsorship of sports competition.
A promotion that will increase the visibility of women's rugby
Promotion by Iberdrola has allowed women's rugby in Spain to form a national club competition in 15-a-side rugby and 7s. Iberdrola's decision to name the championship the Women's Division of Honour, for the first time, has taken the League to hereto unknown levels of outreach and support. For the first time practically all matches were streamed and the Final, between Olímpico de Pozuelo and CRAT Universidade da Coruña was shown live and exclusively by Eurosport thanks to the efforts of the Federation and Iberdrola's backing.
Players could see the support of their competition's new sponsor first hand thanks to the creation of "Iberdrola Lion" prizes awarded to the "woman of the match".
The Olympic format was also boosted and promoted with the creation of the Iberdrola Queen's Grand Prix Series Cup. This brought a competition similar to the international Sevens competition format to Spain for the first time in women's rugby. The new format has attracted fresh talent to the Spanish Lions. The competition was also consolidated with the creation of a special Teledeporte programme on each of the three series, Madrid, Valencia and Valladolid; which had great success and viewing figures.
The new season sees a change in name, from the Iberdrola Division of Honour to the Iberdrola Rugby League, but it retains the essence of its objective, which is to consolidate women's Rugby in Spain through the sport's values and its visibility.