RUGBY LEAGUE IN BRAZIL
Rugby League gained significant ground in 2013 when the now-defunct TV channel Sports+ began televising NRL matches.
The NRL Grand Final of 2013 had its sixth-largest international audience in Brasil and a result of this was that three of the founders of Brasil Rugby League became Sydney Roosters fans who had never met each other.
Brasil’s first true 13-a-side match played under international rules was a 54-8 defeat by Chile in Los Angeles, Chile in 2017. The next day Brasil played a third-place playoff which resulted in a tense 22-18 loss to Colombia.
With rapid improvement, in 2018 Brasil won both the men’s and women’s Latin American Championships in Sao Paulo, paving the way for the women to qualify for the 2021 Rugby League World Cup in England.
Brasil Rugby League is the recognised administrative body for rugby league within Brasil, mandated by the Ministerio do Esporte and Receita Federal do Brasil.
The organisation is also known as Confederacao Brasileira de Rugby League, but has adopted Brasil Rugby League for ease of duplicity in multiple languages and for marketing purposes.
Prior to 2017, rugby league had no central administration in Brasil and was run as several pockets of activity in different parts of the country, separated by vast geographic distances.
In 2017 the step was made to consolidate the administration under brothers Hugo and Gilberto Froes, in 2018 an application was made for recognition by the relevant government authorities and in 2019 this was granted.
The men’s and women’s national domestic competition, the TOP 1, is undergoing a significant shift at the moment, transforming from a city-based competition, to a state-based competition.
The bulk of activity is centred around the states of Sao Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Minas Gerais, Parana and Espirito Santo, though it is anticipated additional teams to the south and north-west will be added soon, followed by those in the north-east.
Before the intervention of COVID, there were plans afoot to transfer the window of domestic action from October-December to a longer period from January-June, which may still be a possibility in 2021.
All teams in Brasil are located 5-8 hours apart in terms of travel by road.
Brasil Carcaras (Men)
Brasil Amazonas (Women)