For the first time in its history, the RLEF will hold its annual congress – the 13th since the organisation was founded – in Eastern Europe.
Serbian capital Belgrade will host the gathering of nations on 4 July 2015, following the RLEF membership’s resolution to rotate the annual meeting around the Continent.
The RLEF Board awarding hosting rights to the Serbian Rugby League Federation upon conclusion of a formal tender process involving three expressions of interest.
“Serbian rugby league is honoured to host the most important gathering of RLEF,” said SRLF president Predrag Pantić.
“For us it is a great recognition and responsibility and we are aware that we have to fulfil the high standards set by in Paris and London [previous AGM locations].
“We are confident that our young, dedicated team will demonstrate organizational maturity and that Belgrade will show its openness and hospitality. Serbian rugby league strongly believe that this year’s gathering will bring new energy and ideas that will be of a great impact for the future development of our sport, both in Europe and in Serbia.”
RLEF General Manager Danny Kazandjian added, “Two central themes of the RLEF are to increase the European dimension of the federation and devolve leadership to a steadily growing number of increasingly capable federations.
“Giving member nations the opportunity to host the annual Council meeting certainly supports that and we look forward to an increasingly competitive bidding process, which will in turn add value to the RLEF.
“We are very much looking forward to bringing the Congress to the wonderful city of Belgrade.”
The Congress allows the RLEF’s diverse and varied membership to congregate in one setting, share best practice, perform their statutory duties as members and listen to expert guest speakers who have included RLIF chairman Nigel Wood, the Rugby League World Cup leadership, officials from UK Sport International and the European Commission, as well as politicians, journalists and various speakers drawn from the membership itself.
Following the inauguration of the RLEF early in 2003 by 10 nations, the first Council meeting was held in Paris on 10 June that year, attended by five nations. The 2014 Council meeting and conference saw 24 nations present. The RLEF currently has 34 Full Members, Affiliate Members and Observers.