Press Release

Nigeria and Ghana approved as Affiliate Members of International Rugby League

Published by IRL
26 Nov 2020

The Annual General Meeting of International Rugby League (IRL) has confirmed the elevation of Nigeria Rugby League Association (NRLA) and Rugby League Federation of Ghana (RLFG) to affiliate membership.

Both nations have undergone a rigorous process to satisfactorily demonstrate the growth of their organisation and their capacity to deliver rugby league programmes.

These are the first two nations in the Middle East – Africa (MEA) region to achieve affiliate membership and further illustrates the progress being made by the sport in the region.

NRLA Vice-President, Ade Adebisi said:

“We were pleased to receive the votes confirming NRLA as an Affiliate Member of International Rugby League.

“This is motivating news for all of us at NRLA. Our target is to qualify for the world cup in 2025 and achieve full membership status. I would like thank Remond Safi and our entire team for making this a reality.”

Kareem Captan, RLFG General Secretary commented:

“This marks a significant milestone in our journey towards participation in RLWC2025 and obtaining full membership. 

“It reflects the ardent dedication of our team and players and the gracious and enduring support we have been so fortunate to receive from our sponsors, partners, and stakeholders and we thank them all.”

Images courtesy of NRLA and RLFG.

The AGM, which was attended virtually by 35 nations, also heard an update from Chair Greg Barclay on the progress made by the international federation during a very disrupted and challenging 2020.

He highlighted IRL’s compliance with World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), the appointments of the first ever Head of Judiciary and a Match Official Manager, the work of several advisory groups, including women and girls, classifications, wheelchair rugby league and the laws advisory panel, plus the work on the re-brand and roll-out of the website and digital members' portal.

IRL chief executive officer, Nigel Wood summed up the meeting saying:

“It was great to have so many members attend and participate in the AGM in such trying circumstances. We would like to thank them all and also congratulate our friends in both Nigeria and Ghana on their successful applications to become affiliate members.

“Quite rightly, members focussed on IRL’s response to the problems created by the global pandemic. They were satisfied that we have been able to manage the international federation’s affairs prudently to ensure that the impact on our support for members is as limited as possible.

“We are all looking forward to an improved 2021 and a World Cup to remember for the most positive of reasons.”