Membership Criteria

According to the Constitution of International Rugby League (IRL) there are three categories of Membership: Associate, Full and Affiliate. In addition to these categories IRL also ranks Observers, as an entry level category.

A Member of IRLis the organisation recognised as the body responsible for the regulation and / or control of the game of rugby league in that country. There may only be one National Governing Body (NGB). An Observer is recognised IRL

A recognised country will need to demonstrate the following criteria:


  • The country is a territory distinguished by its people, culture and geography.
  • The country will be able to demonstrate that it has its own flag and government and that it has complete autonomy over sport within its defined area.
  • The country is recognised by the United Nations (UN) or is recognized as a country within a country which is a member of the UN.
  • The Board of IRL is satisfied that the applicant will be of benefit to the IRL and its Membership


The Board of International Rugby League (IRL) may at its discretion admit a country to Observer status based upon a completed application which will include the following:


  1. Constitution correctly signed and approved.


  1. Bank Account with at least two dual-signatories drawn from the Board of the applicant.


  1. A list of the interested parties together with contact details, position within the organisation and a brief biography of the Board Members.
  2. A not for profit legal entity established in the country of the applicant organisation.
  3. Provision of founding minutes that clearly define founding members, in line with the constitution, and governing Board elections.
  4. A Development Plan for the following 12 month period.

Affiliate Member

  1. An organisation applying for Affiliate Membership must meet all Observer criteria.
  2. Complete and submit to IRL annual accounts for at least 12 months prior to application.
  3. Conduct regular 13-a-side rugby league Competitions with:
  • a) Minimum 4 senior teams
  • b) Player registration system
  1. Evidence that a Youth or Junior Development Programme is in place.
  2. A registered office and admin.
  3. Have an approved international programme at any eligible level.
  4. Operate coach and match official education via an IRL approved scheme, and led by nominated and qualified technical managers.

Full Member

  1. An organisation applying for Full Membership must meet all Affiliate Member criteria.
  2. Complete and submit to IRL annual accounts for at least 24-months prior to application.
  3. Publish and lodge with IRL annual reports for at least two years prior to application.
  4. Be able to demonstrate the financial stability of the organisation.
  5. Conduct regular rugby league competitions within the country – competition is defined as a 13-a-side league competition played under International Laws of rugby league over a minimum of a 10-week period.
  • a)     Minimum 8 open age teams each playing a minimum of 6 regular season matches, not including play-offs
  • b)     Minimum 4 open age reserve division teams each playing a minimum of 3 regular season matches, not including play-offs
  • c)     Minimum six-team junior club (or school) competition with each team playing a minimum of four regular season matches, not including play-offs. The age range of the competition may be anything from U14 to U18, with the six named teams all being of the same age category.
  • d)     At least 500 registered participants (players, coaches and match officials)
  1. Approved international programme at more than one level which must include full international and may in addition include “A” international, student, junior (Under 18 or younger) and wheelchair. All at Male or Female.
  2. Members may be able to source revenue from the above activity by way of fees. This can be extended to include registration fees, sponsorship, government grants, gate and canteen receipts and IRL grants where applicable.
  3. An approved Development Plan, correctly resourced with annual reports lodged with IRL.
  4. Have a designated, active media manager and be able to show a functioning media operation.