By Phil Caplan, Date: 14/1/14
The RLEF has awarded Observer status to the Asociación Española de Rugby League, giving rugby league its first national presence in Spain.
Headquartered in Valencia, Spain’s third largest city, the AERL, registered under Spanish law with the Interior Ministry, was officially founded in August 2013, six months after its leaders started the Spanish rugby league project.
Mrs Salome Zapata, the inaugural AERL president and head of a four-strong governing committee, is confident about the progress the sport can now make in Europe’s fifth largest nation.
“On behalf of my Board, it is a real honour to join the RLEF, an act that adds real impetus to the work that we have been undertaking,” she said. “This recognition means that we started 2014 having already achieved one of our objectives, and we look forward to working with RLEF chairman Maurice Watkins and his federation.”
Five clubs – Valencian Warriors RL, Ciencias de Valencia, Irreductibles RL (Valencia), CRAC de Alcoy (Alicante), and Elefantes de Castellón (Castellón) – will kick off the first Spanish league in March, while the AERL is already communicating with other RLEF members about playing official international matches and joining the world rankings.
Next month, RLEF Coaching Manager Martin Crick, assisted by RLEF-trained FIRL coach tutor Tiziano Franchini, who is fluent in Spanish, will conduct a Level 1 Coaching course in Valencia.