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International Rugby League world in mourning as Tiziano Franchini, 44, dies from a suspected heart attack

One of the leading European Rugby League administrators responsible for spreading the game across Europe has passed away from a suspected heart attack, aged just 44.

Franchini was involved in the formation of the Rugby League European Federation, founded at a meeting in Paris in 2003 which Franchini attended. Later it become the ERL which Franchini served on the governance committee.

Franchini was also instrumental in developing women’s Rugby League in Italy, helping to establish the women’s national side and representing the ERL on the Women and Girls Advisory Group to the International Rugby League.

As well as being a leading administrator he played in four international matches for the Italy side, making his debut against Germany in the 2008 European Shield.

Graeme Thompson the ERL interim chair said “This is devastating news, Tiziano was utterly committed to rugby league, not just in Italy where his presence was massive but in his work promoting the sport as a voluntary coach educator throughout Europe. Our thoughts are with his family, friends, and FIRL at this desperate time.”

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