Serbia have confirmed themselves as a driving force behind European RL development by launching the Balkan Super League (BSL)
This ambitious competition includes four clubs from Serbia and a team each from Bosnia Herzegovina, Turkey, and Bulgaria. It has the potential to become an elite club competition and is the result of hard work being done to develop the game domestically in a number of European countries.
It is expected that Greece will enter at least one club in the BSL after the RLEF recently granted them Observer status.
The travel distances and costs across southern/eastern Europe make the BSL an attractive proposition for clubs and it provides players with an opportunity to develop skills and play at a higher level.
Serbian RL President and BSL Director, Blagoje Stoiljković believes bigger things are on the horizon.
“We are confident that this is just a first step in the prosperous future of the sport in region.
Serbia as a rugby league leader in this part of the Europe is determined to help elevate the quality of the game in the emerging countries in every possible way.
This is obviously a test year, but we can already feel a positive energy from all the country participants.”
Serbia currently run an eight team domestic competition and were close to RLWC 2017 qualification using all domestic players but were beaten by an Italian team filled with heritage players.
In a sign that Serbian standards are improving, rising star Vladimir Milutinovic of Partizan Belgrade has been invited for a trial by French club Toulouse Olympique who are currently second in the Kingstone Press Championship table.
Clubs competing in th 2017 Balkan Super League are: Novi Beograd, Partizan, Dorcol and Red Star (All Serbia) Vitez (Bosnia and Herzegovina) Lokomotiv Sofia (Bulgaria) Kadikoy Bulls (Turkey)
Another participating club is likely to be announced in the next few weeks.