Albania has become the 39th member nation of the RLEF after they were granted Observer status, further strengthening the sport in the Balkans.
“Congratulations to everyone involved in Albania Rugby League, the sport should be excited about the developments taking place in the region,” said Jovan Vujosevic, RLEF Central & Eastern Europe regional director, who has facilitated their inclusion.
“Tirana has played in the Balkan Super League and the national side appeared in the Balkan 9s against Bosnia and Herzegovina, Turkey and Bulgaria this year. We will continue to develop the initial progress made.”
Ilir Dashi, president of Albania Rugby League noted: “It is a great milestone for the amount of work done so far. We would like to thank all those who came to the aid of rugby league in Albania since we started and the RLEF and RLIF for granting us this opportunity for further expansion. Our small yet strong crew will do the utmost to make more well-grounded progress. We are at the brink of a new year with many objectives on the horizon and many people with us.”
Kein Turdiu, ARL general secretary added: “Becoming a member of the RLEF has been a goal of ours since we started this journey. Today, having been awarded the membership status means a lot for us, we are one step closer to making rugby league a significant sport here. Many doors have now been opened for us and we are eager to work. All of us are focused and determined to spread the sport to every corner of Albania.”
Gaining Observer status means that a national federation has a suitable board, constitution, bank account established in the nation, a plan for developing the game domestically and is active. A federation may move to becoming an affiliate or full member subject to governance, the depth of domestic competition and national team fixtures.