NRL Expansion: ARLC approves 20 team plan

News Limited reports that almost a dozen groups have reached out to NRL HQ to express interest in joining the NRL competitions after the ARLC confirmed they were ready to add more teams to the competition, with potentially up to the 20 mark before the Olympics in 2032.

The ARLC has instructed NRL boss Andrew Abdo to preside over a business case for more teams – this is a forerunner to the ARLC calling for formal submissions.

Interested parties have been given 30 days to come up with something, as the 18th team could come in as early as 2027.

News says that Perth and Papua New Guinea aside, it is understood there has been early interest from Fiji, a handful of teams in southeast Queensland and five consortiums in New Zealand, where rugby league is enjoying a boom period.

Perth are currently odds on in the early running to be the 18th license, as the WA Government has reportedly met officials in Sydney recently to discuss the bid, with both North Sydney and Newtown proposed as potential partners for the bid.

The other current major candidate remains PNG with the support of the Federal Government and $600 million in funding.

New Zealand is another possibility, although Ivan Cleary has warned the NRL against rushing expansion into New Zealand, fearing now is not the time to flood the market and dilute the Warriors’ presence.


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