About the IRL

The global governing body of Rugby League

As the global governing body for the sport of Rugby League, the role of International Rugby League (IRL) is to

foster, develop, promulgate, promote, govern and administer the Game of rugby league throughout the world. 

It does this by bringing together the Member nations, of which there are 19 full Members, nine affiliate Members and 24 observer Members. 

Each Member nation belongs to a regional confederation; Americas Rugby League, Asia Pacific Rugby League (APRL), Rugby League European Federation (RLEF), Middle East Africa Rugby League (MEA).   

IRL work with the regional confederations to develop the sport globally and organise International Test Matches and competitions at the most elite level of the game. 

The IRL is responsible for the official sanctioning of Tests Matches contested between Member Nations and the global rankings of which these contests contribute toward. 

Since 1998, IRL have been responsible for the Laws of Rugby League. 

Crowning Champions 

Every four years the International Rugby League World Cup is held. Consisting of competitions for men, women and wheelchair.  

Every year, the Golden Boot Award is presented to the best Man, Woman and Wheelchair player  


The IRL's affairs and management is carried out by an executive team that report into the Board of Directors. 

The Board has 12 Directors comprising of: 

  • three independent Directors nominated by the board under Article 4.3;
  • one director nominated by the ARLC and one director nominated by the RFL, as the National Federations which operate the Major Professional Leagues;
  • three Directors nominated by the RLEF, with one nominated by the RFL, this person being the RFL nominee to the RLEF board;
  • three Directors nominated by the Asia Pacific Confederation, with one representing the ARLC and one nominated by the NZRL, these persons being the ARLC and the NZRL nominees respectively to the APRLC Board; and
  • one Director nominated by the NZRL.