As Rugby League prepares for an exceptional weekend of international competition with crucial games in both hemispheres, the Chairman of the RLIF, Nigel Wood took some time to reflect upon the recent RLIF Board Meeting held in Brisbane.
“There was a clear determination by all around the table to progress the cause of international rugby league. It was a very constructive and progressive meeting”
“The agenda was packed with items that will help shape and drive forward the international game including the development of the most compelling and commercially attractive international programme from 2018 onwards and the development of a wider Strategic Plan for international rugby league.”
The delegates heard reports from across the globe regarding the substantive progress being made, with more players and nations participating in representative rugby in more locations than ever before.
As a result, the Board has agreed the first phase of a Strategic Plan which will cover short, medium and long-term development, including an integrated calendar built around the World Cup cycle, the next of which will take place in Australia and New Zealand in 2017.
“All Board Members were keen to record their thanks and appreciation for the outstanding work that is carried out by the Asia Pacific Rugby League Confederation and the Rugby League European Federation,” Wood continued.
“The two Confederations are a clear demonstration of how delegated authority can work well. It allows the key decisions to be made closer to the action while being supported and encouraged from the central governing body. The collaborative endeavours in staging the excellent Commonwealth Games 9s event in Glasgow is testament to this”.
Among the issues discussed and agreed was the qualification process for the next World Cup involving 14 nations with seven seeded nations already announced.
The organisers of the tournament provided their first up-date to the Board and are ready to start making full-time appointments and will shortly begin the host / venue selection process.
In addition, Wood confirmed: “In the coming weeks the International Laws Committee will meet for their annual review of the various interpretations and trials that are constantly being monitored. Any changes will be adopted world-wide from January 1st.
“We continue to progress the appointment of a Chief Executive Officer to lead the organisation into this exciting new era”.
The RLIF Board also approved an application from USA Rugby League (USARL) to run the sport in the United States and they become Affiliate Members of the RLIF, with a clear route and projected timescale to become Full Members.
“Peter Ilfield and his fellow board members are to be congratulated on their application and their drive and energy in promoting the game in the USA in difficult circumstances. We all look forward to a positive future for the sport in the one of the largest sporting economies in the world.”