Ireland to be included in 2008
World Cup

The Rugby League International Federation has confirmed plans for a 2008 World Cup at the end of that year's domestic season.

The RLIF Board meeting in Sydney today said the World Cup would be a part of the southern hemisphere's Rugby League centenary celebrations.

In addition to the World Cup, the RLIF has also finalised arrangements for this year's Tri-Series tournament involving Australia, New Zealand and Great Britain.

Included in the plans is a United States visit by the Philips Kangaroos to assist the growing American competition being conducted by former Sydney St George first grader David Nui.

It has also been agreed that the Tri-Series nations will conduct a separate tournament for 'developing players' in New Zealand at the end of 2004 season.

Plans for a world youth championship were also unveiled today with the Russian Rugby League confirming that the Moscow City Council was keen to host the event and to assist financially.

"The progress that is being made internationally is indeed encouraging for Rugby League," RLIF and ARL Chairman, Mr Colin Love, said today.

"The RLIF has received reports on both the European Championship and the Victory Cup which are creating substantial northern hemisphere interest.

"Events such as the Cougar World Sevens and the upcoming World Club Challenge are further assisting to grow the game's profile.

"Given the progress that is being made, we are extremely optimistic about the 2008 World Cup.

"Anyone at the Cougar World Sevens who saw the skills of PNG, Tonga, France, Russia and Fiji in particular will realise that there is plenty of talent outside of Australia, New Zealand and Great Britain.

"The World Cup will be about supporting that talent and giving those countries something to aim for."

Mr Love was today re-elected unopposed as the RLIF Chairman.

The Executive Chairman of Britain's Rugby Football League and Super League, Mr Richard Lewis, was elected as Vice Chairman (again unopposed).

He replaces Mr Maurice Lindsay who was elected a life member of RLIF and who did not seek reappointment as RLIF vice chairman.

New Zealand's Selwyn Pearson has been appointed to the RLIF Executive taking the position of Mr Jean-Paul Ferre of France who had not stood for re-election.

NRL Chief Executive, Mr David Gallop, was re-elected as the RLIF Secretary and the fourth member of the RLIF Executive (again unopposed).