Rugby league’s international popularity continues to grow; not least in the fertile grounds of the Republic of Serbia, where the Rugby League Federation (SRLF) recently announced an expansion to their domestic league competition.
Two new teams from neighbouring provinces, the Morava Cheetahs and Sokó́ are to become full members of the competition after successful participation in youth tournaments, nines competitions and friendlies last year. The teams’ participation was formally accepted at the governing body’s recent AGM.
The Cheetahs are based in Leskovac, Southern Serbia, which is the capital of the Jablanica District. Apparently Leskovac was second only to Manchester in terms of the textile industry during the 19th century, becoming known as “Little Manchester” as a result (not sure whom it was that knew it as that, but hey, it’s on wikipedia so it must be true).
Vranje, home to Sokó́ (Falcon in English) is an ancient city again in the South of Serbia with a fascinating history dating back to Ottoman and Thracian empires. It is the administrative centre of the Pčinja District.
SRLF Board member Radoslav Novaković helped in the establishment of new entrants and is proud of the progress being made both on and off the field in his country saying:
Our national team won an international competition (Euro Shield). New centres were established in the south. More and more young people participated (in rugby league) and for the first time we have been categorized in the system by the Sports Association of Serbia.
(All things) which were our goals when we held last year’s AGM.
Also at the meeting Aleksandar Mitrović, a director of Serbia’s current champions, RLC Red Star Belgrade, was elected as a new Board member.