After a three-year period, Germany is once more an affiliate member of the European Federation following the RLEF Board meeting this week.
“This welcome news is really thanks to the hard work of a lot of people involved in rugby league in Germany,” said Nationaler Rugby League Deutschland president Bob Doughton. “The upgrade in status certainly won’t divert us from our strategy of focussing on local development and although now we can enter official RLEF competitions, our successful policy of only selecting Germany-based players who participate in the BundesLeague will continue.”
In September 2014 Germany, then represented by Rugby League Deutschland, was stripped of its membership for failing to meet the necessary criteria. In March 2015 the RLD Board dissolved the organisation, paving the way for the creation of NRLD, in line with the new RLIF membership policy. As stipulated, at least four clubs have to appear in domestic competition and Ostwestfalen, Ruhrpott Rhinos, Northern Devils and Grüne Jäger all participated in the Steeden BundesLeague in 2017. Additionally, NRLD conducts youth activities in Hagen, Hattingen and Dortmund.
In other news, the Board continued developing the RLEF’s international calendar for the next eight-year cycle. Having confirmed the U19 European Championship earlier this year, and following a two-stage consultation with the membership, the Board changed the format from quadrennial to biennial. With Serbia confirmed to host the 2018 edition, a tender process will be used to determine the 2020 host, set to be revealed next year.
“The RLEF is focussed on establishing a robust and meaningful calendar at all levels,” said director Paul Nicholson. “We continue to look at multiple formats for our premier competition, the European Championship, which we are determined will become one of the sport’s best international events, and have expanded our youth framework to ensure more talented players being produced in our member nations have the opportunity to represent their country. We also discussed exciting plans for the largest European world cup qualification competition in the sport’s history, which will be announced following ratification from the RLIF.”
Finally, the Board reviewed actions surrounding non-compliance with the RLIF membership policy, with determinations to be announced following the 2017 Annual Membership Audit.