European Championship offers World Cup route for Ireland & Wales

Wales and Ireland will have the chance to qualify for the 2017 World Cup automatically, should either of them win the European Championship this year.

The tournament kicks off on Friday evening with Wales facing Scotland at Derwent Park, Workington.

Scotland and France, the other countries particpating in the European Championship, are already confirmed for the World Cup.

“This will be the 32nd edition of European rugby league’s premier international tournament,” said tournament director Danny Kazandjian.

“It is the pinnacle of a three-tier European Championship structure unveiled in 2013 which includes eleven countries in total – Greece winning European C on Saturday night in Athens – with this tournament featuring four of the world’s top eleven-ranked nations, in six matches played in five countries.”

Kazandjian also confirmed that some of the profits from last year’s successful World Cup are being ploughed into the European Championship.

“The appetite for a robust, long-term calendar is shared by everyone involved in the sport and the European Championship brand is foremost in the planning of that calendar,” he added.

“It dates back to the 1930s and has the potential to become a commercially successful, marquee event, contributing to the sport’s increasing stable of highly successful and visible international occasions.”

Television coverage is likely to be confirmed later this week.

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