IRL update rugby league’s international eligibility rules

International Rugby League has published revised rules relating to the eligibility of players in the international game.

The key points are:

  • Eligibility to represent a nation is based upon the birthplace of the player, the birthplace of any parent or grandparent, or residency over a five-year period.
  • A player can only elect to represent one nation in any calendar year
  • ‘Electing’ to represent a country has changed from playing for that country to being named in a 19-man squad (or final tournament squad in a sanctioned 9s competition) for that country.
  • A player eligible for any nations other than Australia, England, New Zealand can only make one switch between those nations in a four-year period. Players qualified for Australia, England
  • and New Zealand plus any other nation can make multiple switches however they can only elect to represent one nation in any calendar year.
  • Players can only represent one of Australia, England or New Zealand in a career, even if eligible for more than one of those nations. If eligible they can play for nations outside of those three.
  • Players cannot represent Australia or New Zealand if they have elected to represent Great Britain and vice versa.
  • No player can play for more than one country in any recognised global event.

IRL Global Operations Manager, Danny Kazandjian said: “The eligibility rules were reviewed as a part of our ongoing process designed to keep our rules as relevant as possible. The changes still allow players options whilst enhancing the integrity of competitions and the international game.

“The board and the members recognise that international sport does not work without national and cultural identification, which is something very personal to individual players and their families. We do not want to put unnecessary obstacles in the way, but we also have to ensure that the whole process is properly and sensitively regulated. We are happy that these regulations meet that standard and, in a constantly changing environment, will be making a further review at the end of this year.”