Rugby League World Cup fixtures to be confirmed this week: Organisers say all 32 teams 'fully committed' to rescheduled tournament
Fixtures for next year’s rescheduled World Cup will be confirmed on Friday - exactly a year before the men’s and women’s finals.
The 2021 tournament, due to take place in October and November, was postponed three months ago after Australia and New Zealand withdrew because of fears over players’ safety during the pandemic.
Organisers RLWC2021 today (Monday) confirmed all 32 teams - from 21 nations - participating in the men’s, women’s and wheelchair competitions have “fully committed” to next year’s tournament which will kick off on October 15 at St James’ Park, Newcastle, when England men take on Samoa.
Of the three events’ 61 fixtures, only five (four match days) have been affected by the postponement.
Two fixtures have been switched between existing stadiums and two events moved to alternative venues, as Liverpool’s Anfield Stadium and M&S Bank Arena are both unavailable.
Anfield was due to host a double-header involving a women’s group game between England and Canada and a men’s quarter-final, while the wheelchair final was scheduled for the Arena.
Wigan’s DW Stadium is favourite to stage the double-header.
Leeds was due to host eight matches this year, with three men’s group games and four in the women’s tournaments being played at Headingley and Elland Road staging a men’s semi-final.
General admission tickets and hospitality for all 61 matches will be back on-sale from 9am on Friday, when the fixture list is revealed.
RLWC 2021 say the BBC have reaffirmed every minute of all matches will be shown live and free across their platforms.
World Cup chief executive Jon Dutton said: “We have suffered a setback, but since that moment in August we have dedicated all our energy towards rebuilding.
“A huge amount of work has gone in behind the scenes and thanks to so many people we have the opportunity to deliver a bigger and better tournament next autumn.
“I want to thank all partners, in particular the UK Government, our broadcast and commercial partners [and] the administrators of the competing nations for their full commitment, as well as our host towns, cities and venues for providing the perfect stage for the best players in [the] world to shine.
“I also want to extend a special thanks to the incredible number of loyal fans who held onto their tickets and have continued to support this event that will see the men’s, women’s and wheelchair tournaments take place simultaneously for the first time ever.”
Sports minister Nigel Huddleston added: “Rugby league means so much to many people across the country, so I’m delighted the Rugby League World Cup is on track to kick off next autumn.
“The UK has a strong record of hosting major international sporting events and this will be another fantastic opportunity to showcase our towns and cities and to inspire our young people to get involved in sport.
“The Government is a keen supporter of rugby league, and we absolutely can’t wait to host the world’s best teams in what is set to be a bumper year of sport and culture in 2022.”
Support the YEP and become a subscriber today. Enjoy unlimited access to local news and the latest on Leeds United, With a digital subscription, you see fewer ads, enjoy faster load times, and get access to exclusive newsletters and content. Click here to subscribe.