Following a meeting of North Macedonia’s Australian-based chairman Peter Ristevski, local representatives Damjan Georgievski, Slavko Jovanovski and Aleksandar Smiljanovski – the founders of first rugby league club in the country RLC Vardar – and European Rugby League regional director Jovan Vujosevic in the country, plans have been announced for the setting up of a domestic league with five clubs.
That is the number required to fulfil the legal obligation for recognition as a Federation by the North Macedonia government under sporting law in the country. Currently, four clubs have been formed, RLC Vardar and RLC Rabotnicki in Skoplje, RLC Pelister from Bitola and Prilep’s RLC Pobeda.
Vujosevic, said: “We had a great meeting, this was the first face-to-face one between those from the country and the representatives who run the operations in Australia. The meeting exuded positive energy and enthusiasm and priority was given to domestic development.”
“We are looking at a third team in Skoplje with it having such a large population,” added Ristevsk. “That would allow us to start a domestic league in October next year. Shane Flanagan is our national head coach, assisted by Paul Gallen, and we want to get them over to run coaching courses while Alexander Volkanovski, who played rugby league before becoming a UFC star, is our wrestling coach and we would like him to also come along and help promote the sport here.”
Georgijevski noted: “We are working together with our brothers from Australia. They have built a very impressive organization with some major individuals, and we are more than happy to work as a joint team. We can create a serious national team as well as a domestic competition. We already have many people from North Macedonia on board and are willing to work together to achieve our common goals.”