The Turkish Rugby League Association has been awarded RLEF Observer status, following a busy period for the game, in which they not only completed their first domestic, five-club championship, but also hosted two international beach events and took part in the inaugural, Balkans Super League.
“This is the best reward for our year of hard work on and off the pitch,” said TRLA development officer, Julien Treu. “We toured Serbia and Greece, organised coach and match official courses, and a Turkish club won their first match against foreign opponents when champions Kadikoy Bulls defeated Lokomotiv Sofia.
“With a clear increase in participation, we see big potential here, and we are confident Turkey can become a major rugby league country in the region. Affiliate membership is the next step, and we will keep up the hard work to fulfil the criteria. Many thanks are due to all the volunteers involved.”
RLEF Central and Eastern Europe director Jovan Vujosevic, who has worked closely with TRLA since its inception in 2016, echoed those sentiments.
“In less than a year the TRLA completed such a lot and deserve their recognition,” he said. “Turkey is one of biggest countries in our region, with big investment in sport, and I am confident that rugby league has a bright future here.”
TRLA secretary general Gürol Yıldız praised the foundation clubs that are the bedrock of the association.
“This is a huge recognition for the Turkish Rugby League Association, after completing only its first regular season. We are all excited and looking forward to new clubs coming on board in 2017-18.
“Our founding teams: Kadikoy, Eskisehir Aqua, Bilgi Badgers, Olimpos and Bosphorus Wolves all deserve many congratulations for their efforts. Formally joining the RLEF is a proud moment for all TRLA board members, clubs and players.”