The Ukraine Rugby League has announced a revamp of its top competition which will see five regional Super League franchises put in place, allied to English clubs.
Transcarpathia Trinity, linked to Wakefield Trinity; Lviv Tigers allied to Castleford Tigers; Wests Knights, partnered by League 1 club York City Knights; Kyiv Rhinos who will work with Leeds Rhinos; and Easts Giants, supported by Huddersfield Giants, will be the participants of the 2018 Joma Super Rugby League.
“This is a significant moment for Ukrainian Rugby League and the start of a new historical stage of our development,” UFRL president Artur Martyrosyan Jnr said. “We are extremely grateful to all the partner clubs who have come on board to support us, as well as sponsors Joma, and their combined vision in seeing what we are trying to achieve.”
Existing Ukrainian clubs RLC "Korzo" (Uzhgorod), RKLC "MNU" (Mukachevo) and RLC "Lions" (Korolevo) will form Trinity; RC "Sokil" (Lviv) will become the Tigers; RLC "Rivne" (Rivne) and RLC "Teren" (Ternopil) the Knights; local rivals RLC "Kyiv" and RC "Rebels" will join as the Rhinos, and defending champions RLC "Legion XIII" (Kharkiv) and RLC "Sarmat" (Kramators’k) become the Giants.
Each franchise will have a fully-fledged structure mirroring their English counterparts with children’s, youth and adult sections whilst the URL has also formed an association with Halifax-based Global Rugby League Academy to further opportunities for student players, coaches and match officials.
“We are very serious about the prospects for Ukrainian rugby league and now some of our goals have been achieved,” Martyrosyan added. “There is now a clear path of development for players of all ages and qualifications and for coaches and officials. We believe that it will not take long for the results to be seen.”