The town of Vrchlabi will host the preliminary stage of the European qualifying route to the 2021 Rugby League World Cup in England, when the Czech Republic host Norway on 30th June. It will be the opening fixture in Euro C, which comprises six nations split north and south.
Germany is the third nation in the north group, while the south group comprises Greece, Malta and Ukraine. The respective group winners will face an elimination game at a neutral venue, for promotion to Euro B and a place in the next stage of World Cup qualification, which will take place in autumn 2019.
Euro B will be played in October 2018 between Russia, Spain and Serbia, with the top two advancing to the 2019 qualification tournament and the bottom nation relegated to Euro C.
“Integrating competitions with the European World Cup qualifiers provides added meaning to the games,” said RLIF Chief Executive Officer David Collier, “which is one of the international federation’s key objectives.
“The increasing number of member nations vying for a World Cup berth is evidence of the growth of the sport, and the launch of preliminary qualification coming a year earlier than for the 2017 World Cup, is a sign that significant tournaments are now being strategically positioned in the RLIF calendar.”
Further details of the next stage of European qualifying will be announced shortly.
Netherlands and Latvia opted not to enter the process.
European Championship B & C Fixtures
European Championship B: Spain v Russia (Valencia, 6 October); Russia v Serbia (Moscow, 13 October); Serbia v Spain (Belgrade, 20 October)
European Championship C – North: Czech Republic v Norway (Vrchlabi, 16 June); Germany v Czech Republic (Osnabrück, 25 August); Norway v Germany (Porsgrunn, 15 September)
European Championship C – South: Malta v Ukraine (Marsa, 30 June); Ukraine v Greece (Kharkov, 8 September); Greece v Malta (Athens, 15 September)