The problem that I see with Italian RL - and with US RL too - is that there are actually four entities that have to be considered when and simply talking about "Italian RL". If we're not clear about what we're discussing we'll get people talking at cross purposes as the different groups get confused.
As I see it (and this is only what I have been able to glean from internet searches) there currently exists;
1) Official Domestic Competition (FIRL?)
This is the body the RLEF/RLIF deals with - but the size, strength and quality of the administration has many critics. Apparently the structure of the organisation is at odds with the wider Italian sports structures (CONI?) and this means it will always struggle for legitimacy within Italian sport. Accused of being very Australian dominated?
2) Unofficial Domestic Competition (FIRFL?)
Set up four years ago as a result of dissatisfaction from clubs with regards to failings within the organisation of the official FIRL. A quick scan of the internet would seem to show that it is a larger, better organised group. Has made great strides towards meeting official CONI criteria.....but, because of the split with the FIRL can never meet official standards.
Players from this competition are not picked for international teams - even though there is evidence that there may be a player pool of domestic players 5-6 times larger than the official FIRL comp.
3) "Domestic" International Team (FIRL)
There have been matches - WC qualification and friendlies - over the years. A quick scan of the team lists would show that these are not just a collection of players flown over from Australia for the weekend (logistically impossible - even if it were desired). It would seem that there are FIRL players who have played for Italy...albeit at a lower standard than seen at the current WC.
4) "World Cup" International Team
A markedly different squad to the one that won qualification to the WC. Dominated by heritage players from (mainly) Australia. Unlikely to ever be able to reform outside of the WC cycle....unless a genuine international window is secured.
It also seems to me that before ANY other discussion can take place the rift in the domestic organisations has to be settled.
Italy seems to be very close to having a decent, official, amateur structure if the two bodies can be brought together. For this the RLEF/RLIF have to revisit their current support of the FIRL.
Of the four "Italian RL" groups listed above the World Cup International Team is the easiest one to create as it doesn't require the huge investment of time and money that genuine domestic organisations require. The problem is that the short-sighted behaviour that is typical of RL governing bodies will probably see them happy to pat themselves on the back about the "Success of RL in Italy" (as measured ONLY by what's happened in the past five weeks) and do nothing else.
Although it would bring about some criticism I would like to see any Italian RL membership of the RELF suspended until a domestic organisation that meets CONI guidelines applies for membership (even better make membership of CONI a criteria for recognition by RLEF....although I'm aware this would set a precedent for other countries that might not be desirable) .
Get this sorted and then worry about international fixtures.
If the vast majority of Italians actually prefer to play within the organisation that, at the moment, isn't eligible for rep honours then that should be a warning sign to the RELF/RILF.
"Has made great strides towards meeting official CONI criteria.....but, because of the split with the FIRL can never meet official standards."
This above information put out by RLEF/FIRL is false. FIRFL can meet CONI standards despite not being under RLEF. There is a few rules, which state this
Also FIRFL (unrecognised) now meet minimum CONI requirements.
RLEF should have acted strongly at the start.
It's a pity the FIRFL players do not have more an opportunity to represent Italy (there has been one match v an International XIII), but they realise they wouldnt have got a shot at RLWC under FIRL.
You will find at least half of "FIRL Euro Shield" teams are still heritage players from UK and France....