Albanian team to join Greek competition for next season

Albanian side Tirana RLC will join the Greek domestic championship for the 2020-21 season.

The Greek Rugby League Association is preparing to host a record eight teams in the championship, which is due to start in September.

The 2019-20 season was cut short due to the coronavirus pandemic, with 19 of the scheduled 31 matches taking place.

Tirana RLC will compete alongside Greek teams Aris Eagles, Attica Rhinos, Rhodes Knights, AEK, Athens City Raiders, Patra and Larisa.

GRLA president George Stilianos said: “Having been to Tirana in 2018 with the Attica Rhinos team, I saw first hand how much passion and potential they have up there.

“If it wasn’t for money and logistics, we would have brought them in straight away. However, we need to be realistic and responsible in our approach.

“There will be east and west conferences like we had last year. We are still finalising the exact details of how it will work.

“It is a long and gruelling trip, however, we feel an obligation to help Albania with their development. All too often, we’ve seen in European countries, where they have just one team, over time, with no regular matches and no certainty of their futures, that these teams disappear.

“We feel we cannot sit back and allow the same to happen in  Albania. Hopefully giving them regular, meaningful fixtures will spark greater interest in the sport up there and help them start a second team and grow, making them self-sufficient.

“I want to thank our teams for seeing the bigger picture and showing such a willingness to accommodate them, despite the already heavy travel schedule.”

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