Italians press for changed European voting rights

The Rugby League European Federation is facing a major backlash ahead of its Annual General Meeting this weekend after as many as nine countries backed a resolution proposing major changes to the way the game is governed on the continent.

The head of Italy Rugby League tabled a resolution to the RLEF last month, which has been seen by League Express in a series of leaked emails. It contains five key requests for the RLEF to consider, which could radically change the governance of the sport and key decisions moving forward.

The resolution, which has been backed by the likes of Germany, Spain and six other nations, urges the RLEF to change its constitution in order to clean up what has been called an undemocratic voting process.

At present, a number of nations – including England, Scotland and France – have four votes for every proposal tabled, while other affiliate nations receive just one. The RFL and FFR XIII also have the right to veto any resolution if they do not wish it to be discussed, effectively giving them carte blanche over the entire jurisdiction of the RLEF’s agenda, no matter what any other nation thinks.

The resolution tabled by Italy says the “entrenchment of the RFL and FFR XIII’s veto rights is outdated and must be changed.”

There is also a request for the RLEF to send all its members the names of everyone involved in an official capacity for the federation, after claims arose of a conflict of interest.

“We request the RLEF to present us with the full written disclosure of interest from each person on the RLEF board and in the RLEF working groups, to inform members and to follow the RLEF conflict of interest transparent procedure,” the Italian email says.

There is also a request for all votes for RLEF board members appointed by the Council to be held in an open manner, by show of hands at the AGM at which the candidates are standing. At present, votes are submitted via email, with little clarity in the process.

All of these issues are expected to be raised at what will be a fiery AGM this Saturday, as a number of nations within the game seem intent on shifting the way power is exercised throughout the European game.

League Express understands that those nations are set to demand firm answers from the RLEF, with a keen emphasis on changing the democratic voting process and giving all nations equal voting rights.

Italy and Spain’s federations were both contacted by League Express and asked to comment on the resolution. They declined to do so.

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