By Phil Caplan, Date: 18/4/13

Following recent statements on social media concerning rugby league in Italy, the RLEF reconfirms its position that FIRL (Federazione Italiana Rugby League) is the sole legal and recognised National Governing Body of Italian rugby league. FIRL has recently opened a dialogue with the Italian Olympic Committee (CONI), including a meeting with its Secretary General Roberto Fabbricini and the RLEF rejects any claim that CONI recognises any other body as the legal Italian national governing body of rugby league.

The RLEF has worked closely with FIRL over the past 18-months on governance protocols. This process has included monitoring by representatives of Rugby League Ireland as part of an EU-funded governance improvement programme. The RLEF believes and is satisfied that FIRL’s practice in this area meets the high standards required of a pluralistic and transparent sports governing body.

FIRL has appealed to all Italian rugby league clubs with an interest in promoting rugby league to enter into consultation over the new constitution, which is based on CONI regulations, and join FIRL. They can do this in the knowledge that their rights are protected by the new constitution. They and their views will be welcome.

Danny Kazandjian, General Manager of the RLEF, commented: “It is disappointing that there are people in Italy actively working against our member, FIRL. We have worked alongside the President of FIRL and his Board to ensure that the organisation meets the standards required by the RLIF, RLEF and most importantly the Italian Olympic Committee. I can confirm the solid progress that is being made in Italy through the dedicated and widening pool of volunteers. We are in very regular dialogue with FIRL and continue to scrutinise their governance processes to ensure best practice.

“We have no confirmation of the claims made by other parties in Italy; however we have evidence where information has been exaggerated and distorted. Simply, everyone who values the best interests of rugby league in Italy should be a part of FIRL; they have protection from the FIRL constitution and of the RLEF.”