Two nations have been granted affiliate status with International Rugby League ©IRL

Cameroon and Morocco have been accepted as affiliate members of International Rugby League (IRL).

It comes after the organisation's membership supported a recommendation from the IRL Board to bring Cameroon Rugby League XIII (CRLXIII) and the Federation Marocaine de Rugby League (FMRL) into the fold.

Another key decision has seen the IRL accept its first member from Asia with Philippines - and its governing body Pambansang Ragbi Liga Ng Pilipinas (PNRL) - accepted with observer status.

Lebanon is a full member of IRL but is part of the European body.

"I would like to congratulate all three nations for their professionalism and dedication to develop rugby league and thank the general assembly for supporting their fellow members," said IRL secretary general Danny Kazandijan. 

"Adding another two affiliate members in Africa is demonstrative of the growing capacity of nations in this emerging market, while PNRL's membership is historic in that it is the first Asian member admitted to the general assembly. 

"We continue to work with Asia Pacific Rugby League colleagues on additional Asian applications."

Philippines has become the first IRL member from Asia ©Getty Images
Philippines has become the first IRL member from Asia ©Getty Images

Both Cameroon and Morocco welcomed their new status as affiliate nations.

"Since 2012, we have been trying to build a better future for young men and women in Cameroon through rugby league," said Carol Manga, the general manager of CRLXIII. 

"Being made an affiliate member of International Rugby League justifies all the sacrifices made by our players, club officials, educators, partners and Board members."

Yamina Abdesellem, the President of FMRL, added: "We welcome this news with great emotion and pride. 

"Our work is to make rugby league a significant sport in Morocco and to play a strong role in our national, regional and global competitions, for men, women, wheelchair and young players."