Written by John Davidson
The Serbian Rugby League Federation says it is not involved with the proposed Euro XIII competition set to start in 2022.
According to reports, a group called Euro XIII says it will stage a cup competition in 2021 before a full European league being introduced alongside that in 2022. It claims more than 25 clubs from 16 different countries have applied to be part of this new competition.
However, this league is not sanctioned by the Rugby League European Federation (RLEF), the governing body for the sport on the continent.
Vladan Kikanovic, the general secretary of the Serbian Rugby League Federation, says he only heard about Euro XIII through social media and his organisation has not received any invitation or approach regarding it.
Kikanvoic is unaware of any clubs in Serbia being involved in it, and admits clubs in his country would face a ban if they engaged in Euro XIII without official approval.
“None of clubs informed Serbian Rugby League Federation with official information that they were in contact regarding Euro XIII,” he told Everything Rugby League.
“Maybe some clubs were in contact, but we don’t have any information regarding that and I assume that happened, because usually clubs inform us and ask questions and for advice.
“By Serbian Law in Sport and Serbian Rugby League Federation rules and regulations clubs need to approach to the national governing body for approval to engage in any international activities -tournaments, matches, tours – if they don’t do it, they will be banned by the national governing body.
“We know that almost all RLEF members have that system in place. For example as I know the RFL clubs and teams that tour Serbia needed sanction or approval of the RFL to go on tour.
“That is good governance in sport in place, because if we don’t have it there will be anarchy. I worked in football before and that system is also in place in football.
“Also I can stress that there was no info from the RLEF regarding this competition.
“We like idea of European club competition and we were nation that started and invested a lot of money in the Balkan Super League, this competition helped all Balkan nations, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Albania, Montenegro, Bulgaria, Greece, Turkey and also Italy join last year.
“The big question is how Covid-19 will impact on global sport, because of this my personal view is that in 2021 Serbia and probably other rugby league nations need to focus to revive rugby league as a sport after the great pause and break and focus domestically and to strengthen local competition and clubs.
“Lot of amateur and pro clubs will struggle financially across the globe and maybe it’s not realistic to host in 2021 competition like that. Football as the biggest sport in Europe will suffer.
“It will be very hard to return spectators to stadiums in any sport, due to the Coronavirus. All sport will be different after Covid-19.”
Everything Rugby League understands Red Star Belgrade, the biggest club in Serbia, is not associated with Euro XIII.
It is believed the governing bodies of Scotland and Wales are not involved with the breakaway competition.
According to a statement released on Wednesday, the RLEF has been working to launch its own professional club competition in Europe for the past six months.
“The RLEF has been made aware of another proposed competition – set up as a private enterprise initiative – following an initial meeting, which some of their members were invited to attend,” the statement reads.
“For the avoidance of doubt, the Federation was informed of this meeting after it had taken place. That group is not sanctioned by the governing body, however, the RLEF has already invited those behind the proposal to formally present to their working group.
“The RLEF is keen to hold discussions with investors who they can work with to progress the sport for the benefit of all.”