The Rugby Football League (RFL) will push ahead with plans to bid for the 2021 World Cup after receiving a Government pledge to provide £15million in funding.
The governing body has estimated it will cost £42m to host the event and believes it can deliver a £74.6m boost to the economy. RFL chairman Brian Barwick said: “I am proud to present the English bid.
“The Rugby League World Cup 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 all can be proud of.”
The host nation for the 2021 tournament, which will grow in size to 16 teams and 31 games, will be decided by the Rugby League International Federation in the autumn.
Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport John Whittingdale MP added: “The UK is proud to have delivered some of the most memorable major sporting events in recent history including the hugely successful 2013 Rugby League World Cup. We want to build on the success of 2013 by hosting the competition in 2021.”
The RFL says the aim is to double up on the success of the 2013 tournament held in England and Wales which made a profit of around £4million after drawing an aggregate crowd of 458,463, including an international record attendance of 74,468 for the final between Australia and New Zealand at Old Trafford.
The further aim is to target one million spectators. If the bid is successful, 12 stadiums will be selected from a shortlist of rugby league stadiums and other sporting venues such as Old Trafford and Wembley.
England’s Dewsbury-born forward Sam Burgess said: “The bid sounds fantastic for the sport.
“The idea of playing alongside my brothers and team-mates not only on home soil but in the country’s most iconic venues in front of packed-out crowds is so exciting.”