Rugby league is now officially recognised as a sport by the government of the Democratic Republic of Congo, after representations by the sport’s governing body, Congo Rugby League and the RLEF's MEA regional director, Remond Safi.
“The 2018 season included seven clubs, which taught us a great amount for our future organisation,” said Kajibwami Arsène Janvier, president of CRL. “The recognition that we have received from the government, and the experience gained over the past four years, allows us to look at the future for rugby league in our country with great confidence. We are excited and looking forward to the opportunities.”
RLEF general manager, Chris Thair added: "This is great news for rugby league in DR Congo and on the global stage. It represents another step forward towards the sport becoming a member of Global Association of International Sports Federations (GAESF).
The Rugby League International Federation (RLIF) was granted observer status by GAESF in January 2018 and has a three year window to fulfil the prescribed membership criteria. Obtaining official recognition by national sports councils is a key aspect of this. Once the RLIF become a GAISF member it is anticipated that it will act a trigger for all governments across the globe to recognise rugby league as an official sport; opening the doors for increased investment; another vital stage in the sports development.”
Four African nations, Nigeria, Ghana, Cameroon and Morocco will take part in the 2019 Rugby League MEA Championships this October in Lagos, Nigeria. Two delegates from DR Congo will be attending the event, which also includes match official and coaching courses, so they can continue the progress being made in their country.