International Rugby League enjoys best ever congress

19th October 2019, 12:25


International Rugby League enjoys best ever congress

October 19th, 2019

International Rugby League (IRL) has completed its annual congress which was held in Sydney. Delegates from across the world heard details of developments, participated in discussions about the shape of the international game and listened to inspirational presentations from visiting speakers.

At the heart of the congress was the re-brand of the organisation and the roll-out of the new digital platform designed to help the membership in all aspects of their activity.

Congress received the latest update on the evolving international calendar which is built around the flagship men’s, women’s and wheelchair world cups every four years and features regional championships every two years starting in 2020 with the European Championships, Oceania Cup, Middle East Africa Championship and Americas Championship. The final details will be presented to the board in February 2020.

Guest speaker, Joanna Lester spoke passionately about the growth and the importance of women’s rugby league and how the women’s game can be an important entry point for governing bodies in their efforts to achieve government recognition.

Craig Phillips, CEO of Commonwealth Games Australia spoke to the congress about the opportunities that are presented to a sport by participation in multi-sport games such as the Commonwealth Games and updated members on the progress being made towards having rugby league recognised as a participation sport within the Games' framework.

Commenting on the congress, IRL Chair, Graeme Thompson said:

“The annual gathering of those at the heart of international rugby league, our members, was again an uplifting experience for everyone as we continue the global development of our sport. 

“The spirit of inspiration and commitment was captured at the congress close when the delegate from Cameroon, a very new nation to our game, thanked the federation and its members for the support they had been given in playing in the inaugural MEA Championship. He highlighted the pride of the players in representing their country and also the difficulties experienced by their squad including travelling four days to get to Nigeria and then a similar return journey. Congress thanked Cameroon for their commitment with fulsome applause. 

“I would also like to express our thanks to Australia for providing a  great setting for Congress including the fantastic spectacle of the World Cup Nines”

IRL Chief Executive Officer, Nigel Wood was enthused by the commitment and energy generated by the congress saying:

“In my opinion this has been our best congress to date. It was full of energetic debate from members on a wide range of topics all of which are supporting the continued development of rugby league and a shared ambition for growth globally.”

The congress concluded with the formal annual general meeting at which former Chair, John Grant was awarded life membership of International Rugby League. The members also approved Colombia’s application to become the newest member of International Rugby League.



For PR and media requests please contact:

Niel Wood