Albania Rugby League has celebrated the start of their new domestic season with the announcement of a major sponsorship deal and details of their first, sanctioned representative fixture. The opening game of their 2023 campaign, a 9s match between K.R. Tirana and Ilirët XIII, was backed by Volkswagen Albania – part of the Porsche Albania group – and the new agreement will see a series of 9s tournaments played across different cities with the aim of promoting the values that the sport and the company have in common.
ARL president, Arnaldo Telo, commented: “We are entering a new phase in our rugby league development in Albania, for the national team and our clubs. It is an ambitious project, and both parties will collaborate toward furthering the sport.
“Most of all, this partnership will make it possible to build the brand of K.R. Tirana alongside that of Volkswagen, reaching more fans and giving greater visibility for the team and rugby league. Furthermore, Albania RL will closely support this partnership to organize events across the nation such as exhibition matches, seminars, meet and greets, rugby days for children, beach rugby, and 9s tournaments with more matches in places such as Vlora, Lushnja, Shkodra and Dures, together with K.R. Tirana’s participation in the Balkan Super League.”
With regard to international matches, Telo added: “We have decided to follow a different path for the next five years. After building the foundation for the national team with the help and fantastic work of former head coach Peter Grayburn and assistant coach Jimmy Finch, we have appointed a new coaching staff led by Arbian Peposhi.
“We are delighted to announce that on October 7, the national team will have their first internationally sanctioned match against Netherlands. This game will also help us understand the actual level of our team and what we need to improve.”
To prepare for the fixture at Zaandijk RC in Zaandam, the ARL held the first of a number of training camps in Tirana at which Peposhi set targets for the players. As part of his brief, he will also be involved in helping to run coaching courses.
“We want to have licensed coaches in Albania which will boost our opportunities to develop new teams and, most importantly, to teach children and be part of a school project,” said Telo. “That will give continuity to our sport and secure the future of it here.”