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Red Star Belgrade bid to join League 1

Red Star Belgrade, a club famous for lifting football's European Cup three decades ago, have confirmed they will make a bid to join the third tier of English rugby league.

The Serbian side last year competed in England's Challenge Cup competition for the first time.

They intend to join League One as early as 2021, which would put them just two promotions away from Super League.

Red Star "believe there is strong potential" for their inclusion.

In a statement, the club said they have "held general discussions" and are working towards making a formal submission.

"We love the game of rugby league and want to see it rise in popularity," the club added.

"We hope to be a model of future expansion across Europe."

Red Star were inspired to enter the Challenge Cup - rugby league's oldest competition - in 2019 after French side Catalans Dragons became the first club outside England to win the trophy.

By starting in League One, Red Star will be looking to emulate Canadian club Toronto Wolfpack, who will make their Super League debut in 2020 after two promotions in three seasons.

The Wolfpack will be the first side from across the Atlantic to play in Europe's top rugby league competition, with their move prompting expansion bids from New York and Ottawa.

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