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The Board of International Rugby League (IRL) has announced a six-step process to create new regional confederations for the administration of the sport. Currently IRL has two Associate Members who represent the confederations – Asia Pacific Rugby League (APRL) represents, broadly, the Southern Hemisphere and Rugby League European Federation (RLEF) represents the Northern Hemisphere.

In recent years, there has been a rapid development of participation and membership in the Middle East Africa (MEA) region and the Americas, both north and south.

The roadmap sets out clearly six steps from concept to membership, to achieve recognition. At each step there are objectives set to demonstrate best practice around governance, technical and competitions plus a membership criterion of a minimum of four full members and six affiliate members in the region.

After consultation with members, including at the RLEF Congress, each region has already started the process of creating their steering group, drawn from the membership, to co-ordinate the project.

Graeme Thompson, IRL Deputy Chair and one of the architects of the roadmap alongside regional managers Remond Safi, (MEA) and Romeo Monteith (Americas), commented;

“This is a welcome and timely development in our growth as an international sport. We have seen the rapid growth of rugby league in both the Americas and the MEA regions and it is entirely appropriate that we should be progressing them to self-govern within the overall IRL framework.

“This is a real collaboration with and between members in order to further support the international development of rugby league.

“I anticipate that it will take at least two years for the first new confederations to become Associate Members, but it is fantastic to see the commitment and the enthusiasm from the members and staff in the regions who are leading this project. They are both advanced in the process and we are all ready to support their efforts.”