SIX towns and cities across Yorkshire have earned the right to host matches at the Rugby League World Cup 2021 - tasked with making it the greatest competition in the tournament’s history.
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.
Organisers revealed details this morning with the major announcements including the Emirates Stadium hosting a men’s semi-final, making rugby league the only sport other
than football to have been played at the home of Arsenal FC.
As in 2013 - the last time the World Cup was hosted here - Old Trafford will be the venue for the final while Newcastle’s St. James’ Park welcomes the men’s opening ceremony.
However, there is great representation across the Broad Acres as well with all four counties - North, South, West and East - gaining the chance to host games as 40 bids were whittled down to 21.
Leeds will host more than any other city; Leeds United’s Elland Road claims a men’s semi-final but also Emerald Headingley Stadium - the home of Leeds Rhinos currently undergoing a £40m revamp - has three men’s fixtures and two women’s games.
Sheffield United’s Bramall Lane ground has secured an England men’s group match while the EIS Sheffield (English Institute of Sport) will host a group plus both semi-finals of the wheelchair tournament.
Club Doncaster’s bid for three men’s group games at Keepmoat Stadium has been successful while the new 8,000 seater Community Stadium at York - set to be opened this summer - will host a women’s group game and both women’s semi-finals.
Furthermore, as organisers met the Government target of hosting at least 80 per cent of the tournament in the Northern Powerhouse, John Smiths Stadium, Huddersfield will host a men’s quarter-final while Hull’s KCOM Stadium has secured two men’s games, including a last eight meeting.
Elsewhere, Middlesbrough’s Riverside Stadium will also host a men’s game and the UK’s City of Culture in 2021, Coventry will feature while the M&S Bank Arena Liverpool will host the wheelchair final.
England reached the men’s final of the last tournament in Brisbane in 2017 but no team from these shores has won the competition since Great Britain in 1972.
The draw for the tournament will take place later this year on November 27 and 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.”
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.”
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.
Full list of game venues/hosts across men’s, women’s and wheelchair fixtures:
Bolton – The University of Bolton Stadium will host two men’s games, including an England
group game and quarter-final.
Liverpool – Anfield will host the marquee quarter-final tie along with the women’s opening
ceremony and initial England game. M&S Bank Arena Liverpool will host the wheelchair
Rugby League final.
Preston – First training base to be revealed.
St Helens – The Totally Wicked Stadium will host three men’s group games.
Trafford – Old Trafford will host both the men’s and women’s finals as a double-header
Warrington – The Halliwell Jones Stadium will host three men’s group games.
Wigan and Leigh – Leigh Sports Village will host three men’s group games
Coventry – The Ricoh Arena will host one men’s game.
Middlesbrough – The Riverside Stadium will host a significant men’s group game.
Newcastle – St James’ Park will host the opening England men’s group game including the
men’s opening ceremony
Allerdale – The Workington Community Stadium will host three men’s group games.
London – The Emirates Stadium will host a men’s semi-final. The Copper Box Arena will
host the England group in the wheelchair tournament.