The Belgian Rugby League Association (BRLA) has announced the launch of the Belgian Super League, with four teams set to compete in its inaugural season.
Eagles RL and Cens Academy of Molenbeek, North Brussels Gorillas and East Brussels Broncos make up the competition, with each club playing the other twice.
A Grand Final to determine the champions will be held on June 25.
Clubs only began to be formed in Belgium in April 2014, so the start of a league represents a huge step forward.
The BRLA will still collaborate with clubs in the Netherlands, after Gorillas won the first BENE Cup this year, beating three teams from Holland to take the silverware.
“It is a big step forward and the board has a lot of ambition,” said BRLA president Yves-Michael Kazadi.
“In Belgium, sport recognition is hard since we have no national government sports agency like in other countries.
“Sport funding is a regional decision so each sports league here depends on either Flemish or Brussels-Wallonia support. It’s like expanding in two different regions separately for the same nation.”
The BRLA also retains close contacts with the Paris rugby league committee, and plans to organise some cross-border clashes with northern French opposition too.
Players have been drawn to rugby league from other sports, especially martial arts and combat sports, and Kazadi is optimistic about the future of the 13-man code in Belgium.
The national team has played several fixtures over the last year, and plans to play more.
“My view from last season is positive,” Kazadi added.
“Tony Benson [BRLA technical director] joined the team and gave us a lot of advice.
“In order to assess our progress we faced different styles in Holland, Czech Republic, Malta and Ireland, and if you compare it to our first game in 2013, against Spain, you can see wonderful improvement.
“At this stage, our focus is on training and consolidation. In addition, we want to teach the history of rugby league.
“We will continue to find new talent and I hope that that in 2021 we might be a good contender for qualification to the World Cup.”