"It was a tremendously difficult decision, but the circumstances have left us in an almost impossible position," said ERL chair Dean Andrew. “It is very disappointing that we have to delay the staging of these events, but it is the only sensible course of action available to us.
“At the moment, International Rugby League is considering its options for the next World Cup and requires time to finalise details, but this has left our members with little planning time to arrange affordable flights and accommodation on the current schedule. Once RLWC2025 details are known, we expect a revised, transparent and inclusive qualification pathway to be confirmed and fixtures rearranged.”
As a result, this year’s ERL championships - which would have doubled up as World Cup qualifying rounds towards RLWC2025 - have been delayed, meaning the European Championships A (Men), European Championships B (Men), European RLWC Qualifying Competition (Women), Middle East & Africa Cup (Men) and Americas Championship (Men) are now removed from the 2023 calendar. However, ERL will continue to explore alternatives for nations this autumn.
Andrew added: "As International Rugby League is not due to make further RLWC2025 hosting decisions until at least July 2023, and is therefore unable to give clarity on revised qualification requirements or financial subsidies for those events, the ERL board felt it impossible to ask national federations to continue planning for this year’s tournaments."