Rugby league has formally expanded into the south of Italy with the launch of the Southern Zone Committee, in accordance with Federazione Italiana Rugby League regulations.
Three Sicilian clubs, Belpasso Rectores, Palermo XIII and Nissaa RL, have applied for membership to FIRL and will be formally inducted into the federation at the organization’s forthcoming AGM.
FIRL has already sent a technical delegation to the island to deliver coaching courses to the enthusiastic locals and finalise the domestic calendar, which will be announced at the weekend.
Tino Magrì, from Belpasso Rectores, expressed his keenness to begin development in the region as part of the governing body. “FIRL membership will give a positive boost to the Sicilian clubs, which we have already noticed with the Level 1 coaching course,” he said.
The Sicilian clubs will now form the Southern Zone Committee which also has jurisdiction over Calabria, Campania, Puglia, Basilicata and Sardinia and will internally elect their representatives for the FIRL general assembly; including club, coach, match official and regional delegates in line with CONI (Italian Olympic Committee) regulations.
FIRL now has three Zone Committees formed and operational, with the south joining the North Western Zone (Liguria, Piedmont, Val D’Aosta, Lombardy and Emilia) and North Eastern Zone (Trentino Alto Adige, Veneto, Friuli Venezia Giulia and Romagna).
Fabio Di Pietro, FIRL’s Central and South development officer, based in Rome, commented, “This is an historic and exciting moment for the expansion of rugby league in Italy.
“The clubs and players in Sicily now have the opportunity to develop rugby league, play in competition and send players to the national team and are a part of the international rugby league community. Regionally, Sicily’s inclusion can also benefit the likes of Malta and Greece. On 6 June FIRL will announce our domestic and representative programme and we are really looking forward to another positive year.”