The development of international rugby league on its own is fantastic, but when two countries come together to meet regularly and actively seek to expand their horizons, share experiences and thoughts with each other, and discuss open communications, it is a bonus – and that is what the Irish and Italian rugby league have done.

With the RLEF intent on strengthening its overall governing bodies via the European Commission-supported Governance Foundation project, full members are given the opportunity to mentor smaller members, as a means to assist them in shaping their organisational structure and procedures.

It was back in December when the Federazione Italia Rugby League (FIRL) General Secretary Fabio DiPietro went to Dublin for Rugby League Ireland’s annual general meeting, before RLI official Connor Kelly visited Italy to do the same thing, 2 weeks later.

“Being part of the Rugby League Ireland AGM was a real pleasure,” said DiPietro.

“I was fully immersed in rugby league and showed how professional the people involved in Rugby League Ireland are. I’ve seen how much we can learn from Ireland and would like to reiterate what a big pleasure it is for FIRL to be engaged with this special nation.”

DiPietro, who is no stranger to the administrative side of things at FIRL, was the brainchild behind Kelly’s visit and arrival in Italy.

“Having an Irish delegate involved in our AGM was really useful – Conor’s professional attitude and great competence shows the knowledge that he has, coming from a really great federation like is RLI. He has done his work perfectly and was professional and exhaustive at all times. He helped FIRL a lot,” said DiPietro.

With problems in Italian rugby league in the past, FIRL are currently working on their constitution in detail, as well as undergoing a series of re-drafts to ensure the strong foundations are in place, for a flourishing Italian rugby league.

Kelly, who was honoured to have attended the FIRL AGM, was pleased to see that Italian rugby league are attempting to implement similar foundations and structures, and looks forward to future partnerships.

“Being invited to be an observer at the FIRL AGM was an absolute privilege for me,” said Kelly.

“Rugby league in Italy is at a very pivotal point; with their involvement in the World Cup next year they have a great chance to grow the sports domestically.

“It is vital that the correct structures are in place in order to aid such growth and it was a huge honour to be able to give advice to FIRL along these lines. The sport’s development within Italy is very much a work in progress, but there are some very passionate people involved at all levels and this bodes well for the organisation in the future.

“Following Fabio’s involvement in Rugby League Ireland’s AGM, it was very encouraging to see that they are trying to put similar structures in place. They have got improvements to make but they are eager to make these improvements so more people in Italy can enjoy rugby league. I hope that both nations continue to work together and learn from each other so that the sport can grow internationally, and I know that RLEF will be keen for the link between Ireland and Italy to strengthen.”

By ricky

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