Date: 11/7/15

A total of 19 nations – 11 full, five affiliate and three observer – attended the 2015 RLEF Congress which included the annual council meeting, held for the first time in Eastern Europe, the Serbian RL acting as hosts in Belgrade.

“The spirit among the assembled nations and their eagerness to share ideas and advance their own programmes was more prevalent than ever,” noted RLEF chairman Maurice Watkins, CBE. “The principle of increasing our European identity has been absolutely supported and I would like to commend the Serbian Rugby League Federation for its hard work and wonderful organisation of the Congress.

“The general consensus from the delegates was that the environment created was entirely conducive to fostering strong relationships and a sense of belonging, and I am sure Belgrade 2015 will mark the first in a succession of RLEF Congresses throughout all the corners of Europe, as members seek to showcase their cities, their culture and their rugby league operations to their peers.”

Members adopted the 2014 statutory accounts, debated an amendment to the RLEF articles surrounding the size of the Board of Directors and discussed the international calendar. The chairman also reported on the decision of independent director Richard Graham to stand down from the Board having served two terms.

“I would like to express my thanks to Richard for the solid contribution he has made to the RLEF since joining the Board in 2011,” said Watkins. “The RLEF has improved its governance and effectiveness during his tenure and, as chairman of the finance committee, Richard was very involved with progressing the financial systems used by the federation.

“Richard decided that, since his RLEF availability was reduced following his appointment as interim chief executive of Commonwealth Games England, it would be better for him to stand down. On behalf of the RLEF we thank him and wish him well.”

The RLEF was inaugurated in Paris in January 2003 and held its first three annual meetings in France, before moving to London for its subsequent gatherings.

Nations attending the Congress were – Bosnia and Herzegovina, Czech Republic, England, France, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lebanon, Netherlands, Norway, Russia, Scotland, Serbia, Spain, South Africa, Sweden, Ukraine, Wales