The Bosnia and Herzegovina Rugby League Association (BHRLA) has been accorded observer status by the RLEF.
Rugby League was first played in the country in 2012. A group of enthusiasts at the University of Banlja Luka, led by student Sreten Zec stared the initial club, the White Rabbits, and further clubs were then formed in Stanari, Novi Grad, Drvar and Vitez.
In 2014 a national side was established, playing in the Balkan Cup that year against Greece and Hungary, and paticipating in the Belgrade 9s the following year.
Subsequently, the national youth team has faced Serbia, Lebanon and the England Lionhearts at U18 level.
In 2017, the BHRLA received a direct aid grant from the Australian embassy in Vienna, to support youth rugby league development. Part of that grant is currently being used to help fund children with diabilities and special needs become involved with the sport.
With recognition now from their own government, the federation has been formally accepted into the RLEF.
“We thank the RLEF, who have recognized our work and effort and included us now in the European rugby league family,” commented BHRLA president, Zeljko Ljubanic.
“This is an incentive for our future work, which will include the formation of new rugby league clubs and domestic competitions, and the further education of match officials and coaches which is our priority.
“I pay tribute to the help and co-operation of the Serbian Rugby League Federation, who are the leaders in our region, whilst the participation of Vitez in the Balkan Super League has been very important in helping us to take the next step into more international competition.“