Details of European Rugby League’s second tier competition, Euro B, have been confirmed, which will see it taking place from 3-9 October 2021, in Belgrade.
It will be the first official ERL competition staged since the World Cup qualifiers almost two years ago because of Covid-19 lockdowns and restrictions.
Hosts Serbia, Russia and Ukraine will contest the tournament, each nation playing the other once, with Greece – who were originally included – still waiting for the go-ahead for their domestic competition to restart. The winners will be promoted to Euro A.
“This is a great opportunity for our Federation to show once more our devotion and passion for the development of rugby league,” said Serbian Rugby League Federation general secretary, Vladan Kikanovic. “It is a big honour to host the second biggest ERL men’s competition, we will do all we can to ensure that the other nations go back home with great memories from this competition.
“Also we undertake that all teams and staff members are housed in a safe, bio-secure environment and that we follow all the measures of the government of the Republic of Serbia related to the pandemic.” Serbia will be coached by Stuart Wilkinson.
In the opening match, they will take on Russia, with the Russians and Ukrainians meeting midweek, before the tournament concludes with Serbia versus Ukraine. Details of venues, kick off times and livestream information will be confirmed in due course.
“The rugby league community in Russia is extremely excited about the upcoming Euro Championship B as it will be the first time the national team has played since 2018,” noted Association of Russian Rugby League Clubs director Jon Christie. “The fixtures will also signal the beginning of a new chapter for rugby league itself in the country. It is no secret the sport has endured some extremely difficult times over the past few years in Russia, and we now hope this competition will kick start the growth of the game domestically and inspire more athletes to embrace it.
“Under the expert guidance of Roman Ovchinnikov, the national team have begun preparations for the games. We have identified a mixture of youthful and experienced talent that will relish the prospect of facing our East European rivals.”
Artur Martyrosian, president of Ukraine Rugby League, commented: “We are happy to back in the European Championship. Our national team has not had fixtures since 2018 partly because of quarantine, and now we hope to be able to participate regularly.”
The announcement follows recent notification of Euro D being scheduled for later in October 2021 in Bodrum, featuring Turkey, Netherlands, Malta and Czechia.