The new Chair of International Rugby League has praised the spirit of collaboration following the Board meeting in Perth on 13 February. The meeting was the first attended by the recently appointed Greg Barclay, his two fellow independent directors, Deputy Chair Troy Grant and Emma Young, and Australian Rugby League Commissioner Wayne Pearce, who has taken over from Peter Beattie. Consequently, the Board was at full complement for the first time since the adoption of the new constitution in April.
Barclay said, “I was very pleased with the commitment expressed by all the key stakeholders towards both the international federation and the game. The new Board is convened at an exciting time for rugby league, with global cohesion, illustrated by the first confirmed parts of the long-term calendar. Everyone understands that the sport can only unlock its true potential through working together in a coherent fashion, and it is up to the Board to take the lead.
Full reviews of the Oceania Cup and Rugby League World Cup 9s were conducted. The Board was encouraged by the first editions of both competitions, which are due to be played in 2020 and 2023 respectively, with the Oceania Cup now played every even year, alongside the other three regional competitions.
The Board reviewed a commercial plan that will underpin and monetize the long-term calendar. The plan is built around unlocking the true potential of IRL’s major events, hosting events outside of core rugby league markets and changing the ownership and delivery model of its competitions and their associated rights. In support of the plan, the Board recommitted to announcing the host of the 2025 Rugby League World Cup before the commencement of next year’s tournament in England.
In addition, the Board confirmed London as the location for its congress this November, at the same time as the Ashes series.
On 14 February, IRL CEO Nigel Wood presented to the NRL clubs, with a view to strengthening relations and cooperation between the governing body and the world’s biggest professional league.