The first European domestic rugby league to be played legally in Greece is set to get underway at the weekend.
Domestic rugby will be played in Greece from Sunday onwards with the sport now officially recognised by the Greek government.
Greece shocked many of the other European sides to qualify for the World Cup where they made their debut despite the sport not being recognised officially in their own nation.
The development of the game looks well on its way now though with their inaugural World Cup campaign, government recognition and now this nine-team league being created.
As well as a men’s league which is split into two pools, East and West divisions, there are also four women’s teams who will all play each other.
George Stilianos is president of the Greek Rugby League Federation and made comment on the creation of this league.
“We are excited about what will be our first season as a fully recognised sporting federation,” he said. “The season is starting later than it normally would as a lot of our key personnel were involved with the World Cup.”
Qualifying was the major achievement for Greece and whilst the tournament ended in three losses for them, they celebrated their try against England like they had won the World Cup in one of the most heart-warming moments of the tournament.
Stilianos continued: “The eight domestic players that played in it are back and ready to contribute to their club’s success and some of them have assumed player-coach roles at their respective clubs because of the experience gained.”
On the growth of the women’s game Stilianos stated: “In the women’s division, this will be our debut season. They have had success as a national team and we are now looking forward to them having regular, competitive games as we lead into the World Cup 2025 qualifiers next year.”
The league year is set to conclude with a Grand Final on the 18th March with both the men’s and women’s finals being contested.