England will host the 2021 Rugby League World Cup, after The RFL’s application to host the event was successful.
The Rugby League International Federation (RLIF) announced earlier today that England had beaten off competition from the USA/Canada to host the 31 game Men’s tournament alongside the Women’s and Wheelchair tournament in five years’ time.
However, USA and Canada will joint host the 2025 World Cup, which will see the competition go to both countries for the first time.
Speaking following the announcement, Chairman of the RFL, Brian Barwick, said: “The news today that England has won the right to host the Rugby League World Cup in 2021 is transformative for our sport.
“Our commitment to grow the game internationally, attract more spectators than ever before and put on the biggest and best event in the sports history has clearly been recognised by the RLIF.
“With a sold-out game between England and New Zealand this weekend in the Ladbrokes Four Nations it is clear that there is a real passion for international Rugby League in this country. The UK has a proud reputation for delivering world class sporting events and the Rugby League World Cup in 2021 will round off an incredible decade of major events in our country that began with the London Olympics in 2012. The hard work starts now, but we are confident that we can deliver.
“Finally, we would like to thank the government for their steadfast support for the bid. Their pledge to help financially support the staging of this event and their commitment to provide up to an additional £10m investment in infrastructure for the sport of Rugby League, has undoubtedly helped to bring yet another iconic world class sporting event to this country.”
The tournament will benefit from central government backing with up to £15m pledged to help support the hosting of the Rugby League World Cup in 2021 and a further £10m to support infrastructure for the sport and grow the game across the country.
Speaking following the announcement, Minister for Sport, Tracey Crouch, said: “I am delighted that England has been chosen to stage the Rugby League World Cup in 2021. The government is investing up to £15 million to put on a world class show and up to a further £10 million into the game’s infrastructure as part of the Northern Powerhouse agenda – and to help Rugby League grow outside its traditional home.
“The tournament will be a fantastic festival of rugby, enjoyed by a million spectators, and bringing economic benefits to host towns and cities. I look forward to working alongside the RLIF, RFL and UK Sport on an outstanding event.”
England Captain, Sam Burgess, said: “The bid that England put together sounds fantastic for the sport. The idea of playing alongside my brothers and teammates not only on home soil, but in the country’s most iconic venues in front of packed out crowds is something I have dreamed of doing again. I would love to see the Rugby League World Cup move to another level and I’m certain that hosting it in England will help succeed in doing this.”
England head coach, Wayne Bennett, said: “The Rugby League World Cup feels like it is on the verge of transforming itself from a major to a mega event. It has the potential to sit alongside some of the world’s biggest events and it’s clear from England’s bid that they have the capability, backing, funding and expertise to do just that. Hosting the World Cup in England in 2021 is exactly what the sport needs to be doing and I’m glad to see that this country now has the opportunity to deliver on its ambitious plans.”