The locations for the Rugby League World Cup 2021 (RLWC2021) have been announced, with the tournament ensuring that the men’s, women’s and wheelchair tournaments play concurrently for the first time.
Another UK first will see the women’s and men’s finals take place as a double-header at Manchester’s Old Trafford Stadium, while the M&S Bank Arena in Liverpool is set to host the wheelchair final.
As well as the wheelchair final, Anfield will also host the women’s opening ceremony and a marquee men’s quarter final.
Jon Dutton, Chief Executive of the Rugby League World Cup 2021, commented on the announcement: “I would like to congratulate all of our chosen hosts who have worked so hard in submitting such compelling bids. Each and every host now has the opportunity to galvanise and inspire their respective communities ahead of the competing nations arriving in England.
“With all three tournaments running concurrently, RLWC2021 will give the chance for people across the country to engage in a variety of ways and really look forward to October and November 2021.
“This was an incredibly tough process given the large number of interested parties and the impressive nature of their bids. With so many competitive bids, we’re confident that our chosen hosts will help play a role in delivering the greatest, and most inclusive, Rugby League World Cup of all time.”
The men’s semi-final is due to take place at Arsenal’s Emirates Stadium, making it the only other sport other than football to be played at the home of The Gunners.
Newcastle’s St. James’ park will be the home of the men’s opening ceremony, following four successful seasons as the host of the Magic Weekend. The women’s opening ceremony, meanwhile, will be hosted by Anfield stadium.
The tournament will mostly take place in “the Northern Powerhouse” as a bid to meet the Government target of 80 per cent; Doncaster, Huddersfield, Hull, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester, Newcastle, Sheffield and York are amongst the northern towns and cities making up the final list.
Leeds will become the home of a number of fixtures, including a men’s semi-final and two women’s fixtures across Elland Road and Emerald Headingley Stadium.
Mims Davies, Minister for Sport and Civil Society, added: “The UK is renowned for putting on some of the biggest and best sporting events in the world and the Rugby League World Cup 2021 will be no exception.
“This tournament will provide a stage for the world’s best players in the men’s, women’s and wheelchair game to shine in cities and towns across the country.
“It is an exceptional opportunity to grow the sport. We are investing £25 million to help put on a fantastic event, reach new fans and improve facilities, so the tournament leaves a real legacy.”
RLWC2021 will be the biggest tournament ever for tournament for wheelchair rugby league, with London’s Copper Box Arena hosting England’s group at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.
Core rugby league venues such as St Helens, Warrington, Leigh and Workington will also have a heavy presence of rugby games. The draw for the tournament will take place on 27th November 2019.
Insider Insight: The venue for both the men’s and women’s final, Old Trafford, has already proven itself as a worthy host of the final. The ‘theatre of dreams’ previously staged a rugby league final tournament the last time the competition took place in Britain back in 2013, as well as hosting the Superleague Rugby Grand Final.
The decision to have the men’s and women’s fixtures as a double-header is a big step for the publicity of the women’s teams,