ADELAIDE, AUSTRALIA - JUNE 24: A general view of an NRL ball on Adelaide Oval prior to the round 16 NRL match between the Sydney Roosters and the Melbourne Storm at Adelaide Oval on June 24, 2017 in Adelaide, Australia. (Photo by Daniel Kalisz/Getty Images)

With a debut World Cup appearance coming later in the year, rugby league in Greece has been given a huge boost after finally winning support from the Greek Ministry of Culture and Sports, as well as the General Secretariat of Sports.

The successful result of the 10-year campaign means that the Greek Rugby League Federation (GRLF) can now play matches and advertise the game locally - a huge coup at such a pivotal time for the game domestically.

There’s a hope that this decision will also result in access to better fields and facilities, pave the way for youth teams to be established and have access to government sporting grants.

It’s great news for the game, especially during a World Cup year that takes place at the same time the Greek football team missed out on qualification for the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar.

The GRLF hopes the significance of Greece’s first Rugby League World Cup appearance can capture the imagination of the country and help the game grow rapidly.

“This news coincides with our first-ever World Cup appearance in October, which is something we can build on afterwards,” said GRLF President George Stilianos.

“This has been a decade-long struggle that has seemed endless at times. So many people have played an important role in this becoming reality, never giving up. We will be forever grateful for their support.

“This will leave a legacy for future generations who will now be free to play the game they love without interference.

“We are also excited about legally hosting our first international match in a long time. It will be on September 25, as part of the inaugural Women’s B Championship when we take on Serbia in Athens.”

The European Rugby League (ERL) shared the spirit of optimism following the news.

“We are delighted for the GRLF and congratulate them,” said ERL chair Dean Andrew, OBE.

“It’s been a turbulent journey for rugby league in Greece but achieving government recognition as a federation ahead of their World Cup participation signals a new dawn and provides them with a huge opportunity to progress the sport at all levels.”

Greece are currently ranked 10th in the IRLF standings. They’ll kick off their World Cup campaign with a match against 7th-ranked France at Doncaster’s Eco-Power Stadium on October 15.

In Australia, that means the game will kick off at 5.30am (AEDT) on October 16.