England to bid for 2021 Rugby League World Cup

The RFL has today confirmed that it will bid for England to host the Rugby League World Cup in 2021.

Following what was widely regarded as the most successful Rugby League World Cup ever in 2013, the RFL revealed their ambition to make 2021 the biggest and most watched tournament in the sport’s history, targeting 1 million spectators – double the number achieved in 2013.

If the bid is successful, 12 stadiums across the country will be selected from a shortlist which will include a variety of Rugby League stadiums and a number of other iconic sporting venues such as Old Trafford, Etihad Stadium, St James’ Park and Wembley.

“The RLWC 2021 provides an ideal opportunity for the nation to demonstrate again to a global audience its ability to stage a world-class sporting event we can all be proud of,” said RFL chairman Brian Barwick.

“It will top off a superb decade of incredible sporting events held in this country that began in 2012 with the London Olympics.”

The host country for the 2021 tournament, which will grow in size to 16 teams and 31 games, will be decided by the RLIF in Autumn.

The RFL’s bid will benefit from Central Government backing with £15m pledged to help support the hosting of the RLWC in 2021 and it is estimated that more than 150m people would watch the tournament around the world.

Backing the bid, Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, John Whittingdale MP, said: “The UK is proud to have delivered some of the most memorable major sporting events in recent history including the hugely successful 2013 RLWC. We now want to build on the success of 2013 by hosting the competition again in 2021.”