On 10 May 2011 rugby league was recognised as a Category Three sport by the Commonwealth Games Federation. As the Commonwealth Sports Association for Rugby League, the RLIF is targeting key development areas in which to grow the sport.
The CGF’s Sports Review Committee voted unanimously to support rugby league’s application, which was delivered by a delegation in the Malaysian capital of Kuala Lumpur on 6 May 2010. The presentation capped an eight-month application process steered by the RLIF’s 10-strong Commonwealth Commission, chaired by Canada’s David Gent. The RLIF Commonwealth Development Plan marries RLIF and CGF objectives and values, with the Americas, Caribbean and African regions the primary focus.
Gent said at the time of the announcement: “Recognition by the Commonwealth Games Federation will also enable Commonwealth countries in Africa, the Americas, Asia and the Caribbean to develop the game and help the RLIF strengthen competition at a Commonwealth and world level.”
Category Three recognition is an important first step towards presence at a future Games and will allow rugby league to work with the regional Commonwealth Games associations on development projects. Recognition was also the first of its kind for rugby league from a global multi-sport organisation.
Commonwealth Games Federation vice-president HRH Tunku Imran said: “Category Three sports are those that we recognise as working towards future inclusion and we are very pleased to see the high level of commitment by the Rugby League International Federation to further develop the sport across the Commonwealth. It is a key criteria that any sport on our programme is played widely across as many of our member nations as possible.”
Rugby League’s Commonwealth Commission represents all six regions of the Commonwealth Games. The officers of the Commonwealth Commission are: David Gent (Chairman, RFL Director of Participation and Canadian Representative), Eric Perez (Canada Rugby League and Americas), Sue Morris (Jamaican Rugby League Association and Caribbean), Anthony Micallef (Malta Rugby League and Europe), Chris Botes (South Africa Rugby League and Africa), Asia (no standing representative) and Colin Love (Australian Rugby League and Oceania); Richard Lewis (RLIF), Nadene Conlon (New Zealand Rugby League and ‘athlete representative’) and Danny Kazandjian (co-ordinator).