In a bold new initiative, European Rugby League (ERL) has sanctioned the launch of the first official European Beach Rugby League Championships for men and women, which will be held in Turkey in the summer of 2022.
ERL is partnering with Turkish agency Melonise in the delivery of the inaugural tournaments, and they will also lead on the commercial side for the project. As the championships grow, the ERL and Melonise plan to expand the annual tournament to a series of city events.
Negotiations are currently ongoing with Turkish cities and venues for the 2022 championship, with more details to be announced soon.
ERL board member, Paul Nicholson, commented: “The European Beach Rugby League Championship is an exciting concept, and we hope our federations will embrace the opportunity as we seek to build a new series of European Rugby League events.
“These have obviously been difficult times, not helped by the disappointing late postponement of the Rugby League World Cup, which has impacted our calendar significantly, However, it has not changed the desire or commitment of our federations to develop the sport in the Northern Hemisphere.”
Nicholson added: “In that regard, we unveil the European Beach Rugby League Championships and look forward to welcoming new media and commercial partners to our sport. We are confident that with our Turkish partners we will deliver a spectacular and positive addition to the rugby league schedule.”
The Turkish Rugby League Association (TRLA) has run a number of Beach Rugby tournaments for club sides, most recently in July in Kadikoy, Istanbul and is hosting European Championship D in October – featuring Turkey, Malta, Ukraine and Netherlands – in Bodrum.
Gurol Yildiz, president of the TRLA and a director of Melonise, said: “Our Beach Rugby League events have been a great success and attracted international club participation. We are proud to be able to bring the first official European Beach Rugby League Championship to our country in 2022.”