The Bosnia and Herzegovina Rugby League Association has been accepted into the Rugby League European Federation.
Rugby league was first played in the country in 2012 when a group of enthusiasts at the University of Banlja Luka, led by student Sreten Zec who started the inaugural club, the White Rabbits.
More teams were formed in Stanari, Novi Grad, Drvar and Vitez.
The national side was established in 2014 and played in the Balkan Cup against Greece and Hungary. They paticipated in the Belgrade 9s the following year. Subsequently, the national youth team has faced Serbia, Lebanon and the England Lionhearts at Under-18 level.
In 2017, the BHRLA received a direct aid grant from the Australian embassy in Vienna to support youth rugby league development, part of which is currently being used to fund children with diabilities and special needs becoming involved with the sport.
Now, with recognition from their government, the federation has been formally accepted into the RLEF.
Bosnia and Herzegovina Rugby League Association president Zeljko Ljubanic is very happy to have been awarded observer status.
He said: “We thank the RLEF who have recognized our work and effort by including us in the European the rugby league family.
“This is an incentive for our future work which includes the formation of new rugby league clubs and domestic competitions, with further education of match officials and coaches our priority.
“I pay tribute to the help and co-operation of the Serbian Rugby League Federation, who are the leaders in our region, whilst the participation of Vitez in the Balkan Super League has been very important in helping us to take the next step into more international competition.”