4 Jun 2015

Rugby league in Italy has expanded into the south with the launch of the Southern Zone Committee, in accordance with Federazione Italiana Rugby League regulations. Three Sicilian clubs, Belpasso Rectores, Palermo XIII and Nissaa RL, have applied for membership in writing to FIRL and will be formally inducted into the federation at one of two mandatory annual general meetings, this month.

FIRL has been in communication with these three clubs, and others, in Sicily for months, preparing the environment for their affiliation in line with the FIRL constitution. Last week the collaboration reached a more practical level with FIRL sending a technical delegation to the island to deliver coaching courses to the enthusiastic locals and finalise the domestic calendar, which will be announced at the weekend.

Tino Magrì, from Belpasso Rectores, expressed his keenness to begin development in the region as part of the governing body: “FIRL membership will give a positive boost to the Sicilian clubs, which we have already noticed with the Level 1 coaching course. On behalf of all the Sicilian clubs I look forward to working closely with FIRL”.

The Sicilian clubs will now form the Southern Zone Committee (which has jurisdiction over Calabria, Campania, Sicily, Puglia, Basilicata and Sardinia) and will internally elect their designated Representatives for the FIRL general assembly, including club, coach, match official and regional delegates in line with CONI regulations. FIRL now has three of four Zone Committees formed and operational, with the south joining the North Western Zone (Liguria, Piedmont, Val D’Aosta, Lombardy and Emilia) and North Eastern Zone (Trentino Alto Adige, Veneto, Friuli Venezia Giulia and Romagna). The remaining, not yet activated, zone is Central.

Fabio Di Pietro, FIRL’s Central and South development officer, based in Rome, said, “This is a historic and exciting moment for the expansion of rugby league in Italy. The clubs and players in Sicily now have the opportunity to develop rugby league, play in competition and send players to the national team and are a part of the international rugby league community. Regionally, Sicily’s inclusion can also benefit the likes of Malta and Greece. On 6 June FIRL will announce our domestic and representative programme and we are really looking forward to a positive year with the newly formed Sicilian competition.”

Pictured: The Vincenzo Bellini monument in Catania.