RUGBY League has again been rejected for membership of global body Sport Accord in a major blow to the game’s hopes of international expansion.
League has already twice been turned down for recognition. The new chairman of the body, Patrick Baumann, confirmed the snub in an interview with aroundtherings.com.
“The three federations have done a lot of work in trying to fullfill the criteria. We are very appreciative of that,” Baumann was quoted as saying. “The reality is that unfortunately they are not at the end of that process.” “The criteria that SportAccord has in it statutes are very strict. So we can’t just close one eye and one ear and move ahead with them.
“Each of them have different topics that they have to work on and we are going to help with them. But right now it [membership] isn’t possible.”
There is so far no information on what area rugby league fell short in. Sport Accord has a congress planned for early April and it was widely anticipated rugby league would gain acceptance then.
Sport Accord will consider granting some federations “observer status” if there are no “rivalry issues”. It’s fair to say there is some rivalry between rugby league and rugby union, which played a role in blocking the last application for membership.
Without Sport Accord recognition, rugby league is locked out of government funding in many countries and players are left with insurance issues.
Also, rugby union can continue to claim jurisdiction over league in places like the United Arab Emirates, South Africa and Italy.