International Rugby league

The board of the Rugby League International Federation (RLIF) has agreed the process for the appointment of three independent directors. Following the review of its governance structure which concluded earlier this year, the board will commence the search and is aiming to make the appointments in time for the next congress of the membership which will take place in Sydney from October 15th to 19th.

The board, which met over two days in Singapore, received up-dates on two key properties of the RLIF, World Cup 9s and World Cup 2021.

Andrew Abdo on behalf of hosts, Australia, reported growing anticipation of the inaugural competition to be held at the Bankwest Stadium, Parramatta, on Friday, October 18 and Saturday, October 19. Twelve men’s teams and four women’s teams will compete for the RLIF World Cup 9s Trophies.

Jon Dutton, CEO of RLWC2021, provided the board with significant progress being made by the world cup team and heard that the tournament is on target to achieve its five strategic goals which cover attendance, finance, legacy, profile and digital connection.

Speaking about the progress being made by both world cups RLIF Chair Graeme Thompson said:

“The board was greatly encouraged by the progress of RLIF World Cup 9s, which is set to be an exciting new addition to the international schedule.

“With over two years still to go to RLWC2021 the planning is meticulous, and the excitement is building as we watch the final stages of qualification later this year.”

The board also approved the formal calendar for regional tournaments for the period 2020 to 2030. The tournaments will take place every two years in the even years and will cover the Americas, Europe, Middle East Africa and Oceania. The RLIF World Cup 9s will be held in 2023. The proposed Continental Cup is still in planning and the board will reach a final conclusion in 2020.

In addition to the official tournaments, members will continue to arrange their own bi-lateral fixtures such as the GB Rugby League Lions tour of Oceania in 2019 and 2024 and the Kangaroos tour to the UK in 2020.

The qualification process for RLWC2025 will begin earlier than ever before, scheduled to start in 2021. It was agreed that nations must have achieved at least affiliate member status by March 2021 in order to be eligible to enter qualification for the 2025 finals. The qualification process will be designed to cater for a record number of entries, currently estimated to be over 40 countries.

The board also considered the arrangements for RLWC2025 finals venue and agreed that further market research needs to take place to ensure that the hosting and the running of the competition will create the best possible outcome for the sport.

On a wide-ranging agenda, the board approved a new digital strategy that will enhance the federation’s presence online and will assist it in its mission to grow and support the membership.
They approved and signed off a range of policies, including a new membership policy that will help the members to be more robust in their own organisations.

Graeme Thompson summed up the meeting saying:

“Once again, we have made considerable progress during this meeting and I thank the board, the staff and the membership for their support.

“We have evolved our infrastructure and policies which strengthen the organisation in respect of the key global leadership role it provides to the sport. The committees cover the important aspects of the sport such as medical, match officials, laws of the game and a football committee. Critically they will allow us to engage with a wider range of personnel from our members, other key stakeholders and specific external expertise.”