New North American rugby league ‘not sanctioned’ by governing body

James Gordon

The governing body of rugby league in the USA says the recently announced professional North American Rugby League competition is unsanctioned and participating players may become ineligible for international duty.

The NARL was announced late last Month, with 14 teams set to take part including Toronto Wolfpack and Ottawa Aces.

READ MORE: The 14 teams taking part in the new North American Rugby League competition

But the USARL is the national governing body and member of International Rugby League and has issued a statement to highlight their authority over rugby league activity across the pond.

The statement said: “The IRL has global property rights whereby appointed member regions and nations uphold  requirements in order to conduct Rugby League activities, inclusive of reporting  participation levels of registered competitions and players, satisfactory insurance for the  safety of players staff and spectators, statistics and financial results leading to  transparency of the national operating model.

“Failure for such entities to meet these requirements may result in participating nations and  their players being considered in-eligible for international duties.

“We encourage all  registered and participating players seek confirmation with their associated club  administrators and officials that they and their club are in compliance.

“While the efforts to establish a professional Rugby League competition in the US are  admirable and encouraged, the recently announced NARL remains an unsanctioned competition in the US at this time. Alongside our common goal of development and  exposure of the game in the USA, the Inc. and LLC ’s critical focus is to ensure player  safety, protection, sustainability and a pathway to international player eligibility.

“The Inc. and the LLC look forward to working with the NARL to continue efforts of inclusion  for all, and expansion of competitions under sanction to enhance our national foot print,  and improve the Hawks performance and presence on the international stage.”

The league is, however, sanctioned by the USARL’s equivalent in Canada, the CRLA.

NEW LEAGUE: Toronto Wolfpack and Ottawa Aces to join new Northern American league

CRLA chairman, Bob Jowett said: “The CRLA is fully supportive of the NARL and looks forward to working with the organization to maximise grassroots development including non-traditional versions of the sport.”

The USARL’s domestic competition is due to get underway at the beginning of June, involving six clubs – Atlanta Rhinos, Jacksonville Axeman, Lakeland Renegades, South Florida Speed, Southwest Florida Copperheads and Tampa Mayhem.

Former Wigan prop Eddy Pettybourne, who has represented Samoa and USA at international level, has been the highest-profile signing made by NARL clubs so far.

He will leave French club Villeneuve at the end of the current season to join Brooklyn Kings.