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England to host 2021 Rugby League World Cup

England has been awarded the rights to stage the 2021 Rugby League Men’s and Women’s World Cups, the Rugby League International Federation (RLIF) has announced.

Twelve stadiums across the country will be selected to host matches, 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.

RLIF said England edged out a joint bid from the US and Canada for the 2021 RLWC, primarily based on the current Rugby League participation numbers in North America.

Bids were assessed against seven criteria provided in the bid documentation.

RLIF said England scored heavily in respect of its supporter base and UK government support, both in terms of the GBP£25 million government support of the event and its legacy, as well as in areas such as visas, security, international development and promotion of the event.

The MSI USA/Canada Bid scored impressively in many areas, including but not limited to, the support of the RLIF strategy to extend the global reach of Rugby League as well as in marketing, commercial support and innovation.

RLIF said:

The Board, acknowledging the strength of the MSI USA/Canada bid, made the decision to recommend to Congress in November the award of the 2025 Rugby League World Cup together with, subject to further evaluation, an Inter-nations tournament to MSI USA/Canada to be played between the 2021 and 2025 World Cups.

RLIF Chief Executive David Collier added:

The RLIF congratulates both England and  MSI USA/Canada on outstanding bids.

With specific reference to the England Bid, which is built upon achieving a spectator attendance in excess of one million and the delivery of a £10 million capital legacy programme, this will be of massive benefit to our sport. England staged an outstanding World Cup in 2013 and have clearly outlined their vision for the 2021 World Cup as a World Class event eclipsing the attendances, reach and legacy of 2013. The bid details that the Rugby League World Cup will be the highlight of the international sporting calendar in England that year and RLIF looks forward to a great tournament.

He said the MSI USA/Canada Bid provided the RLIF with an unprecedented opportunity to take Rugby League’s pinnacle Event, the World Cup, to the commercially lucrative and passionate sports audience of North America. He added:

As outlined in the Bid presentation, significant opportunities with regards to Rugby League development at both the elite level and even more extensively at the junior levels of the game, gave MSI USA/Canada’s Bid extremely compelling qualities.The bid process was highly competitive and the Board was very impressed by the MSI USA/Canada bid which was of the highest quality. The RLIF sees a great future for the sport in North America and has recommended that discussions with MSI are expedited to bring professional Rugby League to North America as well as future international tournaments. Those discussions are being progressed with MSI USA/Canada and a report will be presented to Congress which will be held on 19 November this year.