The Balkans, also known as the Balkan Peninsula, is a geographic area in southeastern Europe. The word Balkan comes from Ottoman Turkish balkan ‘chain of wooded mountains’. The Balkan Peninsula is bounded by the Adriatic Sea to the west, the Mediterranean Sea(including the Ionian and Aegean seas) and they have Marmara Sea to the south and the Black Sea to the east. Its northern boundary is often given as the Danube, Sava and KupaRivers.
The Rugby League has a significant history on the Balkans. The first game was played on September 26, 1953. in Belgrade. Match was played between French students and Selection Provence. The game was part of an attempt by the French Rugby XIII Federation to stimulate interest in the sport in Serbia.
BALKANSUPER LEAGUE (BSL) – club level
Inaugural BSL competition was played after 2 years of planning in 2017 for the first time in history. BSL is international regional club competition in rugby league with the clubs from countries from Balkan peninsula. In the first season of BSL we could see 8 clubs from 4 countries (Bosnia and Hertzegovina (1), Bulgaria (1), Serbia (5) and Turkey (1)). Champions for the Season 2017 were Partisan (Belgrade) after they won the Grand Final against their arch-rivals Red Star.
Season 2017 had 8 clubs divided in two groups (Group A: Partisan (Belgrade, Serbia), Dorcol (Belgrade, Serbia), Radnicki New Belgrade (Belgrade, Serbia) and Knight FIS (Vitez, BIH); Group B: Red Star (Belgrade, Serbia), Radnicki Nis (Niš, Serbia), Kadikoy Bulls (Istanbul, Turkey) and Locomotive (Sofia, Bulgaria)). In the group stage teams played against each other 3 rounds after group stage top 2 clubs from each group played semi-finals (Red Star vs Dorcol; Partisan vs Radnicki Nis) and after that the winners of the semi-finals played Grand Final (Partisan vs Red Star).
2017 Grand Final Partisan 32 vs 26 Red Star, November 19th 2017, BASK Arena – Belgrade, crowd: 200, referee: R. Novakovic.
Season 2018 expanded to 15 clubs from 7 countries (Albania (1), Bosnia and Hertzegovina (2), Bulgaria (1), Greece (3), Serbia (5), Turkey (2) and Montenegro (1)) they were divided into 5 different groups of 3 each. In the group stage teams played against each other after that they were ranked from 1 to 15. The 4th and 5th ranked teams played play-off game for the last spot in the semi-finals.
Participants of BSL in 2018 were:
Group A: Radnicki New Belgrade (Serbia, Belgrade), Kadikoy Bulls (Turkey, Istanbul), Warriors (Bosnia and Hertzegovina, Republic of Srpska, Banja Luka).
Group B: Partisan (Serbia, Belgrade), Locomotive (Bulgaria, Sofia), Aris Eagles (Greece, Athens).
Group C: Radnicki Nis (Serbia, Niš), Patras (Greece, Patra), CR Tirana (Albania, Tirana).
Group D: Dorcol (Serbia, Belgrade), Knight FIS (Bosnia and Hertzegovina, Vitez), South Region XIII (Montenegro, Bar/Tivat).
Group E: Red Star (Serbia, Belgrade), Rhodes Knights (Greece, Rhodes), Bilgi Badgers (Turkey, Istanbul).
There is big interest from all over the Globe for BSL competition and there are many of clubs and Federations which show their interest in participating in it even from other continents. BSL received letters of interest from the countries like Hungary, Russia, Italy, Ukraine, Lebanon and even from Republic of South Africa.
2018 Champions were Red Star (Belgrade) which defeated Partisan in the Grand Final (Red Star 30 vs 6 Partisan). It was placed on SC Inge (Belgrade), crowd: 150.
BSL Season 2019
In a 3rd edition of BSL for the year of 2019 we are going to see 14 clubs from 8 different countries to compete between each other (Albania, Bosnia and Hertzegovina, Bulgaria, Greece, Italy, Serbia, Turkey and Montenegro). They are going to be split into 2 separate divisions and each division is going to have 2 groups.
Divisions and Groups for 2019 are:
Group A1: Red Star (Belgrade, SRB), Aris Eagles (Athens, GRE), Lignano Sharks (Lignano Sabbiadoro, ITA), Dorcol (Belgrade, SRB).
Group B1: Partisan (Belgrade, SRB), Locomotive (Sofia, BUL), Radnicki Nis (Niš, SRB), Kadikoy Bulls (Istanbul, TUR).
Group A2: South Region XIII (Tivat, MNE), FIS Knight (Vitez, BIH), CR Tirana (ALB).
Group B2: Red Kangaroo (Belgrade, SRB), Radnicki New Belgrade (Belgrade, SRB), Phrygians (Ankara, TUR).
Source to check: ragbiliga.rs – 1 ; ragbiliga.rs – 2 .
BALKAN RUGBY LEAGUE CHAMPIONSHIP (national level)
To be edited… (2014-Greece (Belgrade), 2017-Serbia (Belgrade), …)
2014 (Belgrade, Serbia):
1. Greece (gold)
2. Serbia (silver)
3. Bosnia and Hertzegovina (bronze)
2017 (Belgrade, Serbia):
1. Serbia (gold)
2. Greece (silver)
3. Bulgaria (bronze)
Source: ragbiliga.rs – 1 ; ragbiliga.rs – 2 ; ragbiliga.rs – 3 ; ragbiliga.rs – 4 ; ragbiliga.rs – 5 .
BALKAN 9s (national level)
To be edited… (Inaugural Balkan 9s – Turkey (Belgrade, 2018), …)
First ever Balkan 9s competition was held in Belgrade, 2018. The final ranking were:
1. Turkey (gold)
2. Serbia (silver)
3. Bulgaria (bronze)
5. Bosnia and Hertzegovina
-. EU Barbarians (off rankings)
WOMEN RUGBY LEAGUE (BALKAN) (beach rugby league, 13-a-side, 9-a-side, club and national level)
To be edited… (Greece, Serbia, Turkey, …)