At its meeting on 28 March 2017 the RLIF Board made substantive progress to broaden and strengthen International Rugby League.
RLIF Emerging Nations World Championship
In support of the RLIF strategic plan ‘Global Conversion’ the Board determined to support an Emerging Nations World Championship in 2018. Each team will be required to be entered by the RLIF Member Nation and will be required to meet the RLIF eligibility regulations. The RLIF determined that a measure of success for the event and RLIF’s investment of $100,000 will be the legacy provided by players returning to their home nation to expand and further develop the sport. In addition to the Emerging Nations World Championship expressions of interest had been received by RLIF from regions to compete in their own competition. Whilst being unable to financially support such a competition the RLIF Board endorsed up to four regions participating in a parallel competition.
RLIF Rugby League World Cup 2021 Qualification
In respect of the qualification process for the RLIF Rugby League World Cup 2021 it was agreed that this would be a 16 -team tournament. Seven teams will be qualified from Europe, 6 from Asia Pacific , 2 from the Americas and one from a play-off series hosted in Middle East/Africa . The Quarter-Finalists in the 2017 RLIF Rugby League World Cup will qualify as of right.
Should 6 teams not pre-qualify via the RLIF RLWC17 Quarter-Finals from Asia-Pacific then the 16th place will be awarded to Middle East/Africa.
Should 6 teams pre-qualify via the Quarter-Finals from Asia-Pacific in 2017 and Lebanon do not qualify via the Quarter- Finals in 2017 then the 16th place will be determined by a play-off hosted in Middle East/Africa between the Middle East/Africa Champions and the 7th placed nation in Asia-Pacific.
Should 6 teams pre-qualify via the Quarter- Finals from Asia Pacific and Lebanon qualify via the Quarter Finals in 2017 that a play-off be held hosted by Middle East/Africa between the highest placed team in Middle/East Africa excluding Lebanon, the 3rd placed team in the Americas and the 7th placed team in Asia-Pacific.
RLIF Chairman Nigel Wood commented;
“The Board were mindful that every nation should have an opportunity to participate in a qualification process for the RLIF Rugby League World Cup in 2021. This solution provides every nation with that opportunity whilst rewarding success for eight of our Members who reach the Quarter-Finals of the 2017 RLIF Rugby League World Cup.”
The RLIF Board received a report that FIRL (Italy) had now fully complied with all criteria regarding RLIF Full Membership and therefore the RLIF Board now recommends to the Members at the AGM that Italy become a Full Member of RLIF.
Nigel Wood commented;
“Italy has demonstrated through its development programmes as well as its success in qualifying for the 2017 World Cup that the nation fully merits becoming a Full Member of RLIF. The Board will make the required recommendation to the Members at our next AGM and we warmly congratulate the Officers of FIRL”
The International Calendar
Substantive progress was made with the International Calendar.
RLIF Chairman Nigel Wood commented:
“This meeting received the Tier One Nations proposed programme for the next four-year cycle together with the RLIF Global Events. The RLIF Chief Executive David Collier will now work with our Continental Federations and our International Competition Group chaired by Graeme Thompson to bring forward proposals to our 9 May Board meeting concerning complementary Continental competitions and matches to expand Tier Two and Tier Three Nation international fixtures.
Whilst the detail of the matches will not be finalised until the Autumn RLIF is delighted to have identified a full programme for the next four-year cycle to enable the completion of the International Calendar.”
The Board agreed that in 2019 the November tours by England to Australia and New Zealand should be complemented by an RLIF Nines World Cup. Expressions of interest to host the RLIF Nines World Cup have been received and a full report will be made to the 9 May Board meeting. Following an evaluation of the 2019 RLIF Nines World Cup the Board will review whether the 2023 RLIF Global Event should be a Nines World Cup or a 13 a side event.
RLIF Board meeting summary
Nigel Wood summarised the meeting:
“This has been an historic meeting for RLIF. Detailed discussions concerning the International Calendar have been progressing for more than a year. Today we have progressed those discussions, made substantive progress with the Calendar and supported all levels of our Membership. Further detail will be discussed at our May Board meeting in Sydney when we look forward to detailing the breadth of international rugby league being played throughout our 68 member nations”.
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