Rugby League World Cup 2021 (RLWC2021) has revealed the chosen host towns, cities and venues for the tournaments taking place in England in two years’ time.
Set to be the most inclusive rugby league event ever, RLWC2021 will see the men’s, women’s and wheelchair tournaments played concurrently for the first time.
Another UK first will see the women’s and men’s finals take place as a double-header at Old Trafford, and further west, Liverpool’s M&S Bank Arena Liverpool will host the wheelchair final.
The Emirates Stadium will host a men’s semi-final, making rugby league the only sport other than football to have been played at the home of Arsenal FC.
The men’s opening ceremony will take place in Newcastle at St. James’ Park, following four successful seasons as the host of Magic Weekend.
Fellow North-East venue, Middlesbrough’s Riverside Stadium will also host a men’s game and the UK’s City of Culture in 2021, Coventry will feature with the Ricoh Arena hosting a match.
Tournament organisers have met the government target of hosting at least 80% of the tournament in the Northern Powerhouse; Doncaster, Huddersfield, Hull, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester, Newcastle, Sheffield and York are amongst the Northern towns and cities making up the final list.
Leeds will host several fixtures, including a men’s semi-final and two women’s fixtures across Elland Road and Emerald Headingley Stadium.
In addition to the Wheelchair final, Liverpool will also host the women’s opening ceremony and a marquee men’s quarter final at Anfield.
York will host multiple games in the women’s World Cup including both semi-finals. With new venues and an increased profile, RLWC2021 will also be the biggest ever tournament for wheelchair rugby league, with London’s Copper Box Arena hosting England’s group at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.
Elsewhere there will be a heavy presence of core rugby league venues featuring, including St Helens, Warrington, Leigh and Workington, where a new purpose-built stadium will host three men’s games.
Jon Dutton, chief executive of the Rugby League World Cup 2021, said:
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.