The administrative body for Italian rugby league, Federazione Italian Rugby League (FIRL), has been granted full member status of the Rugby League European Federation for the first time.
Although the sport has been played in Italy since the 1950s, modern Italian rugby league dates to 2002, with the governing body formed later in 2008. This acceptance as a full member comes on the back of stronger governance and more people participating in domestic competition.
FIRL currently administers 11 open age men’s sides, in three regions, plus the North West Roosters Saluzzo, who play in the French Championship, as well as six junior clubs, 11 schools, and women’s teams in three geographical areas.
“This is an historic decision for our federation,” said FIRL president, Orazio D’Arro, “which will galvanise our future growth and direction. The board is honoured to accept this mandate to grow and deliver the sport to the Italian community, and to ensure that the correct democratic guidelines are followed.
“I must thank all those in our organization, past and present, who have brought us to this point,” he continued. “We confirm our commitment to work in harmony with the international rugby league family and its governing bodies, to create further success. The board and I have worked to improve our structures, constitution and operational standards, which has increased participant numbers each year.
“Looking ahead, we have another World Cup to compete in later this year and there will be a strong focus on growth, especially in the junior and women’s games.”
“The FIRL board deserve a lot of credit for the manner in which they have committed to reorganising their association from 2011,” noted RLEF general manager, Danny Kazandjian.
“The work included overhauling the previous governance and structure, and the adoption of a new constitution based on CONI (Italian Olympic Committee) statutes, as well as investigating and signing off annual accounts, a process that was only finished last month.
“The result is that FIRL’s growing corps of stakeholders know they are part of a democratic and transparent organisation, in which they have a voice. Italy is an important strategic country for rugby league, and the FIRL is now in a very good position to advance the sport’s interests there.”