The game of rugby league evolved from the original game of rugby football but was played by a faction who, rather than follow the rules set by the Rugby Football Union, developed an alternative game.
Rugby league evolved during the late part of the 19th century and was generally played amongst the working classes. Within just a few years it became very popular in the north of England where the Northern Rugby Football Union (NRFU) was formed, much to the disapproval of the gentry who had, until then, controlled the original game of rugby football. While the game is still popular in the north of England, it's very much a minority sort in the south and almost non-existent in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.
Although the game was originally played on an amateur basis, working class players found it difficult to continue playing without any reimbursement for time off work for training, matches and injury. This eventually led to the Northern Rugby Football Union making changes in the rules that then enabled entrance fees to be charged and the players were given a small remuneration. It was at this time the evolved version of the game was given the name Rugby League.
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