The Rugby League International Federation has been granted Observer Status by the Global Association of International Sports Federations.
Rugby League gained the recognition at its council meeting on January 24.
Observer Status will give the RLIF the right to attend the GAISF General Assembly and allows it to take advantage of the GAISF network to grow and develop.
GAISF is the umbrella organisation for international sports federations and promotes its members in a range of ways.
But Rugby League aren’t full members just yet. The GAISF Observer Status has been designed as the first step in the path towards fulfilment of all criteria required for GAISF membership.
David Collier OBE, RLIF CEO, said: “We would like to thank the GAISF Council for their grant of Observer status for Rugby League, it will have a positive impact on the RLIF Membership around the globe.
“We currently have 71 member nations who will all now be able to progress relationships with their own national government and sports organisations. We look forward to taking up our position playing our part at the earliest opportunity.
“We have seen continued and sustained growth in the membership of the RLIF over the past 8 years and, built upon the interest generated by RLWC2017 in the Men’s, Women’s and Wheelchair formats, we expect to see that growth carry on.
“I would like to record my thanks on behalf of the Board to the staff and volunteers in our confederations and across the membership for their support and hard work.”
The All-Party Parliamentary Rugby League Group has welcomed the announcement as well.
Group Chair and Member of Parliament for Bradford South, Judith Cummins MP, said: “I am delighted that the Global Assembly of International Sports Federations has awarded observer status to the Rugby League International Federation.
“This is an important decision, which will allow the sport to further develop in countries around the world, and especially where rugby league has struggled to secure government recognition.
“I look forward to further growth in our sport across the world in the coming years.”