The Asociacion Española de Rugby League (AERL) has been accepted as the ninth Affiliate Member of the Rugby League European Federation and its 20th overall.
Spanish rugby league officially began in February 2013, while the AERL was founded in the following August.
Spain was accepted as an Observer Member of the RLEF in December 2013. The country played its first internationals in 2014, and its domestic league continues to progress.
“Achieving Affiliate Member status is the best possible proof of the strength and seriousness of the Spanish project,” said AERL president Salomé Sansona.
“Our new status puts the AERL at the level of some long-established federations and opens the possibility for the first time to play in official RLEF competitions.
“We also recognize the efforts of the 12 Spanish clubs who, through their joint work, have enabled us to achieve this goal. Our referees, coaches, players, volunteers and sponsors have also contributed to this recognition.
“We will work to continue establishing ourselves as the benchmark for emerging nations in Europe.”
The principal Spanish league is based around the cities of Alicante and Valencia, and includes seven clubs.
The AERL is also running development leagues, which include clubs from Barcelona, Cordoba, Madrid and Coria.
An Under-18 club championship is also in the pipeline.