RLEF plans review to mark dawn of new era for European rugby league

The Rugby League European Federation is to undergo a governance review as moves are made to change the landscape of rugby league.

At its annual congress, held virtually on Saturday, the Council overwhelmingly supported proposals for a governance review, which would have built into it member input at all stages, and independent assessment.

It comes after at least nine countries called for the RLEF to change its constitution over voting rights, which is heavily weighted in favour of the bigger nations, and enables the RFL and its French equivalent, the FFR XIII, to veto any resolution.

Officials from more than 30 countries took part in the congress, including RFL CEO Ralph Rimmer.

RLEF chair, Maurice Watkins CBE, said: “It was excellent to see, if not be with, everyone and commend them on their work at such a trying time.

“The frank, robust and honest debate we expected was not compromised by the circumstances of the meeting and everyone who contributed spoke positively about moving rugby league forward.

“In many respects, this is the dawning of the next era. We will have a new general manager in place soon and the governance review will enable us to ensure that we emerge into a new period of our development.”

Although postponed this year due to COVID-19, the European Championship international competitions are likely to have increased domestic player quotas after a proposal from Serbia was strongly supported.

It was revealed earlier this year that the European Championships will require competing nations to name six homegrown players in their squad, and four on a match day, in a bid to boost development programmes and reduce the reliance on so-called heritage players.

Meanwhile, Serbia’s Colin Kleyweg is heading up the European Club Competition Working Group, set up earlier this year to explore the possibility of a pan-European domestic club competition.

A rebel competition, called EuroXIIIs, was set up earlier this year – though despite announcing teams, has little presence other than a Twitter account which has been dormant since July.

Kleyweg has been replaced on the RLEF board by Wales Rugby League chairman Brian Juliff, with Graeme Thompson re-elected as a member-elected director.

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