By Duncan Mackay

Cyprus has been granted associate membership of World Rugby ©CRFCyprus were today voted in as an associate member of World Rugby but Greece were suspended and Armenia excluded.

Armenia have had their associate membership taken away from Rugby Europe owing to inactivity of activities and administration there. 

Meanwhile, the Hellenic Federation of Rugby has been suspended from World Rugby membership pending the recognition of the federation by the Greek Ministry of Culture and Sport, as well the governing body meeting the membership criteria in full.

Currently, the Federation does not have the 10-team domestic league in place that is required for full membership of World Rugby.

But the Cyprus Rugby Federation (CRF), founded in 2006, were welcomed after meeting the criteria for associate membership as laid down by World Rugby regulations with a six-team domestic league now in place with four of those teams registered with the CRF. 

The league includes teams from the British military bases located there.

Cyprus' national team played their first-ever international in 2007 when they beat Greece 39-3 in Paphos before a crowd of 2,500. 

Cyprus' national rugby team made their international in 2007 when they beat Greece ©CRFCyprus' national rugby team made their international in 2007 when they beat Greece ©Stephen Nicolaou for CRF

The decisions were taken following meetings of the World Rugby Council and Executive Committee in London. 

"We are delighted to be welcoming Cyprus as an associate member of World Rugby," said Bernard Lapasset, chairman of World Rugby, formerly the International Rugby Board before it officially rebranded on Tuesday (November 18). 

"Rugby is experiencing unprecedented global growth and interest with more than 6.6 million men, women and children playing the game.

"Today's announcement certainly underlines rugby's ability to reach out to new communities and countries in every region."

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