Allerdale Borough Council has officially informed the organisers of the Rugby League World Cup that it will not be able to host the tournament in 2021.
The discussion has taken place following the decision by Allerdale’s Executive to reconsider plans for a new 8,000-capacity stadium in Workington.
The Executive members asked council officers last week to continue looking into the business case for a new stadium, with a view to reducing the size and scale of the proposal.
The decision means that the council would not be able to meet the already tight deadlines of the World Cup, plus the original stadium requirements in the bidding process, and has therefore withdrawn from the process.
“The council is extremely disappointed the RLWC will not be coming to west Cumbria in 2021 and we thank the organising team for their support and positivity following our successful bid,” said a Council statement.
“We also thank them for their patience and understanding during the last few weeks while the stadium plans have been considered by new members of the Executive.
“The team behind the bid put forward an excellent proposal which was highly commended by the organising committee.”
Council Leader Marion Fitzgerald said: “As the council moves forward with alternative plans for sporting facilities in the borough we want to continue to work with the RFL in developing a new shared stadium for Workington.
“We hope this will provide a long-term legacy for Rugby League and football in the town, borough and west Cumbria as a whole.
“We are naturally disappointed the World Cup will not be able to come to the area now and understand the excitement and benefits it would have brought.
“However, it is important we get a decision of this scale right for every person in Allerdale and fully consider the business case for a new facility.”
Jon Dutton, the Chief Executive of RLWC2021, reacted to the news by saying: “We’re obviously very disappointed by the news and we do feel that it’s a lost opportunity for West Cumbria.
“Our timelines and requirements from our original bidding process will mean we will now re-allocate the three group games and team base camp, which will be announced in due course.
“We wish the council the best of luck with their revised project and I am confident that community clubs across West Cumbria will continue to see the benefits of RLWC2021 via our legacy programme, InspirationALL.”