Rugby League set to be played freely in Greece following political disputes

The President of the Greek Rugby League Association (GRLA) is hopeful rugby league can be played freely in Greece following their qualification for the 2021 World Cup. 

Greece, currently ranked 11th in the International Rugby League rankings, qualified for the World Cup for the first time last year. They will join Samoa, France and hosts England in Group A of the forthcoming competition.

The country were forced to play matches away from home during their qualifying campaign after a dispute over recognition of the official governing body.

A number of domestic matches were also played in secret because of the political conflict.

However, GRLA President George Stilianos says the sporting political landscape is changing and the signs are that rugby league is beginning to take root in Greece.

He hopes that rugby league will be openly played in Greece this year without any repercussions from the authorities, following a change of Presidency at the Hellenic Federation of Modern Pentathlon (HFMP).

He said: “We understand that there has been a change to the president of the HFMP, which the government recognises as controlling rugby league, and their new general secretary confirmed the body has no interest in disrupting our activity here.

“This has yet to be confirmed in writing, however the signs are positive at this stage, so much so that we are planning on openly playing rugby league once again.

“Qualifying for the World Cup has significantly raised media interest in the sport here.

“We have teams split into an east and west group for logistical reasons, to reduce travelling costs and ally teams of similar history and standing and, so far, it has worked really well.”

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