European Rugby League wants regular 9s competitions as part of four-year strategy

European Rugby League has outlined its desire to introduce a regular calendar of 9s competition for men’s and women’s international sides, as well as its expanded European Championships format.

In a four-year strategy plan, they say the priority is to raise the standards of international competition, increase the number of nations playing competitively and make competition structures attractive to broadcast and commercial sponsorship.

The pandemic has got in the way of the revised European Championships format, which involves promotion and relegation between four different tiers, including six countries at the highest level.

The 2022 edition of the top tier event has also now been put back a further year due to the postponement of the World Cup.

The European Championship D will take place in 2021 though, involving Malta, Czecia, Netherlands and Turkey, held in Bodrum in Turkey on October 14 and 17.

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The ERL strategy focuses on its objectives to grow participation and high quality rugby league, as well as delivering ‘great’ international competitions and enable sustainable federations to grow.

Part of that includes enhancing the image of the ERL and increasing its revenues.

There are are also plans to establish two new confederations for the Americas and Middle East/Africa – with the likes of Jamaica, Lebanon and the USA currently amongst the membership of the ERL.

ERL general manager, David Butler, said: “We are pleased to be launching our new strategy and vision and to be able to demonstrate the direction that European Rugby League intends to take to continue to move forward.

“Our members have had their say in the development of the strategy over an extended period begun in 2019, and we will strive to enable further growth and improvement, and act as a positive influence upon all those involved.”

The strategy covers the period between 2021 and 2025, when it is expected the next World Cup will be held in France.

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