Message from Nigel Wood, Chairman of RLIF
It has been a significant year for international rugby league, one that has seen considerable progress; providing a base for genuine, sustainable development.
Papua New Guinea was confirmed as joint-hosts of the next World Cup in 2017, which Tonga, Lebanon and the United States have qualified for; many congratulations to them.
Perfectly set up for next year, is the prospect of European Qualifiers for the tournament, where six nations will battle it out for the final three places, with Serbia having won European Championship B and Spain illustrating the continued steps being taken in the continent by continuing their remarkable journey, which – like Malta – has seen them rise up five places in the newly-published World Rankings.
They are headed by New Zealand, the first nation other than Australia to hold the top spot, which sets up next autumn’s Four Nations tournament where anyone of three – the Kiwis, Kangaroos and England – can claim the mantle.
Having our first-ever CEO, David Collier, in place has meant that we have moved considerably closer to a unified and extended, long-term international calendar as part of our vision document which was published in November, setting out our aims and objectives.
The targets set in it, in terms of increasing participation, profile and formats are testing but, we believe, achievable.
There is potential growth in all corners of the globe, with increasing interest in South America and the Far East and we are putting together the necessary resources to properly service this increased desire to play, coach, officiate, spectate and become involved in rugby league.
These are exciting times and I wish you compliments of the season, together with a fulfilling and productive New Year.
Thank you for your continued support.
Message from RLIF, Chief Executive Officer, David Collier OBE
It is now almost 9 months since I was appointed as the first ever Chief Executive Officer for the RLIF. In that time I have been faced with the expected issues such as the creation of a regular international calendar, harmonisation of rules, eligibility and international development. I have also met the unexpected challenges of Rugby League activists being jailed and the occasional battles that the sport faces in order to gain full recognition in certain parts of the world. However, I did manage to undertake the consultion and research which has produced our long-term strategy.
I am always keen to focus on the positive future that faces international Rugby League and there have been some significant events and milestones.
The RLIF strategy for 2018 – 2025, entitled Global Conversion, was successfully launched and well received at the Paris Congress in November . It provides the road map for the development of our sport throughout the next 8 year cycle and defines where we wish our sport to be at the end of that cycle.
The targets are challenging but the recent growth of the sport and the excellence of our recent global events and the 2017 qualifying events provides a solid foundation to reach those goals.
I am inspired by the enthusiasm of all our members and followers which demonstrates that the sport not only has a proud history but an exciting future and RLIF looks forward to leading that growth in the years to come.
On behalf of the RLIF I wish you every happiness and success in 2016 and I look forward to another great year for Rugby League