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Friday, 24 March, 2000, 16:50 GMT
Eligibility crackdown for league World Cup

All players must prove their claims to play
Players hoping to use the "grandparent rule" to qualify for a country other than the one where they were born will have to provide proof of their ancestry before they can play in the Lincoln World Cup.

Rugby league is determined to go as far as it can to ensure that its global tournament is contested by players who are properly qualified

Neil Tunnicliffe, tournament director
Tournament organisers of the rugby league showpiece have taken the decision to avoid becoming embroiled in the eligibility scandal that is currently dogging Wales and Scotland in rugby union.

Players will have to produce a sworn affidavit that at least one parent or grandparent was born in the country which they want to represent.

Alternatively, they can provide a statement from a "recognised and qualified minister" confiriming their qualification.

Tournament director Neil Tunnicliffe said: "We will be rigorous in our application of the requirements and there will be no hiding place for any player or nation who chooses to ignore the Rugby League International Federation's ruling on qualification."

As with its sister code, rugby league players can qualify for a country other than their birthplace after three years of residency.

"While we recognise that other sports have experienced problems with international eligibility criteria, rugby league is determined to go as far as it can to ensure that its global tournament is contested by players who are properly qualified," said Tunnicliffe.

Rugby league's hardline approach has been confirmed by officials who insist that in the case of individuals transgressing the rules there will be no right of appeal.

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Links to other Rugby League stories are at the foot of the page.