The RLIF (Rugby League International Federation) today reacted with surprise to the Press Release issued by the ARLC (Australian Rugby League Commission) concerning the international calendar.
RLIF CEO Nigel Wood commented
“It is certainly commendable that Australia is now positively engaged in discussing the future of international rugby league. Nevertheless there are likely to be many surprised about how far the ARLC’s new thinking deviates from the position it had previously committed to as part of the RLIF Board in May 2017. At that time, the RLIF Board announced a GB Lions Tour in 2019 to be followed by a Kangaroo Tour in 2020 as a precursor to the next RLIF World Cup in the UK in 2021."
“Fundamentally, however, bilateral events such as Lions, Kangaroo and Kiwi Tours are matters for the individual nations themselves to discuss, in the first instance, and we are unclear what discussions have been had between the ARLC, the RFL and NZRL to step back from the previous calendar. It would be unfortunate if all parties have not discussed and agreed these changes before this announcement” he added.
“Having said that we welcome the ARLC’s contribution to the wider discussions on the future international calendar, particularly as regards the RLIF’s ambition to create a potential Pacific Championship to replicate that already organised for nations in Europe. "
“International rugby league has never been more vibrant and it is very encouraging to see so many ideas come forward from numerous sources, all of which seek the same objective; a fuller and more compelling international calendar."
“The RLIF Board meets later this month, by which time it is hoped the ARLC will be in a position to make a formal submission which can be considered by the RLIF Board alongside the views of our other members.”
Wood took the opportunity to further add
“The RLIF is currently reviewing its Strategic Plan to create more exciting and compelling international rugby league tournaments. We are doing that in consultation with all major stakeholders, the RLEF, the APRLC and the senior playing nations. The arrangements and negotiations around the Denver Test were instructional for all of us and the RLIF took on a responsibility to work with all nations, clubs, players and the players’ associations to co-ordinate a calendar that it can sanction well in advance for all parties and the professional leagues to take into account in scheduling and participating in their own domestic competitions.”
”These are exciting times, and never before has International Rugby League been more topical.” he closed.