Four-year international calendar to be confirmed in autumn

A four-year international rugby league calendar is set to be revealed in the autumn, following an RLIF board meeting earlier this week.

The plans will include an England tour Down Under in 2019, as well as an RLIF Nines World Cup.

It was also confirmed at the meeting that 16 nations will compete in the 2021 World Cup, to be held in England.

RLIF Chairman Nigel Wood said: “This has been an historic meeting for RLIF. Detailed discussions concerning the International Calendar have been progressing for more than a year. 

” Today we have progressed those discussions, made substantive progress with the Calendar and supported all levels of our Membership.

“This meeting received the Tier One Nations proposed programme for the next four-year cycle together with the RLIF Global Events. 

“The RLIF Chief Executive David Collier will now work with our Continental Federations and our International Competition Group chaired by Graeme Thompson to bring forward proposals to our 9 May Board meeting concerning complementary Continental competitions and matches to expand Tier Two and Tier Three Nation international fixtures.

“Whilst the detail of the matches will not be finalised until the Autumn RLIF is delighted to have identified a full programme for the next four-year cycle to enable the completion of the International Calendar.

“”Further detail will be discussed at our May Board meeting in Sydney when we look forward to detailing the breadth of international rugby league being played throughout our 68 member nations.”

Regarding the 2021 World Cup qualification format, it was confirmed that all eight quarter finalists from this year’s World Cup will be awarded a place as of right.

The 2021 competition will comprise of seven teams from Europe, six from Asia Pacific, two from the Americas and one from a play-off series hosted in Middle East/Africa.

Wood added: “The Board were mindful that every nation should have an opportunity to participate in a qualification process for the RLIF Rugby League World Cup in 2021. 

“This solution provides every nation with that opportunity whilst rewarding success for eight of our Members who reach the Quarter-Finals of the 2017 RLIF Rugby League World Cup.”

The RLIF board has also confirmed its support for an Emerging Nations World Championship in 2018, and that Italy have been recommended for full membership of the RLIF.

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