The Turkish Rugby League Association and the Turkey Rugby Federation have settled their differences after an emergency meeting between the two parties during the week.
Commentary Box Sports reported earlier this month that the Turkish Rugby Federation had threatened to ban players from the code if they participated in rugby league games. This would have proven disastrous for rugby league in Turkey as around 70 percent of the game’s participants also play rugby union.
The Turkey Rugby Federation also stated at the time it was the only official representative of rugby in Turkey and therefore any sport with the name rugby in it belonged to them.
However, after a five-hour meeting between administrators of both codes in Ankara last Tuesday, sanity prevailed and it was decided that each sport should continue as separate entities due to the ‘differences between rules and the fact that the two codes sit under different international federations.’
There will be no penalties imposed on players that choose to participate in both codes.
Both associations will continue to contribute to the development of sport in Turkey.
Turkish Rugby League administrators came away from the meeting in Ankara extremely pleased with the outcome.
“I was very optimistic to resolve this matter with the Turkish Rugby Federation. I believe there was a misunderstanding between the two codes here in Turkey,” General Secretary of the Turkish Rugby League Gurol Yildiz said.
“I’m very pleased with the outcome, I must thank my rugby league board and the President of the Turkish Rugby Federation for working together to solve any misunderstanding. This will benefit both codes.”
Translated Statement from the Turkey Rugby League Association (posted on Turkish RL Facebook page on Friday, 15 September)
“As the Rugby League Association, we would like to share the decisions of the Turkish Rugby Federation, Murat Pazan, on September 12 2017, with the results of our visit to Ankara.
The Rugby League and Rugby Union will be accepted as different sports branches because of the difference between the rules of the International Federation.
The Rugby League Association will be held independently by the 13s, 9s and Beach Rugby League organisations independently of the Turkish Rugby Federation.
Therefore, each of our athletes will be able to participate in the competition under their own regulations. The Association of Rugby League and the Turkey Rugby Association is to contribute to more sports activity and contribute to the development of sports in our country.
As a Rugby League Association, we offer thanks to the Turkish Rugby Federation, for positive attitudes and solution-oriented approaches.
Rugby League Association Board of Directors”
A similar statement was posted at the same time on the Turkish Rugby Federation Facebook account.
The Turkish national rugby league team can now focus on competing in the Balkan Cup competition in Belgrade from 6-8 October 2017.
A crowdfunding campaign has been initiated to help finance the team’s travel to Serbia.
The Turkish Rugby League competition was launched with five clubs on Christmas Day in 2016. Kadikoy Bulls became the inaugural premiers after defeating Eskisehir Warriors earlier this year. The Turkish Rugby League Association was subsequently awarded observer status by the Rugby League European Federation.