Rugby League World Cup postponed until 2022
The Rugby League World Cup has officially been postponed until 2022.
It almost seemed a formality from the moment Australia and New Zealand both elected to withdraw from the tournament amid the global pandemic, and now tournament organisers have pulled the plug on the event.
The World Cup was set to be held in the United Kingdom from October 23 to November 27.
There had been discussions among NRL players and officials regarding the prospect of Indigenous and Maori representative teams to take the place of their respective nations, but that looks to be dead in the water with the official news.
Rugby League World Cup chief Jon Dutton said it was a disappointing call to make, but one that had to be done to prioritise the welfare of all involved.
“Today is a challenging moment for everyone involved in Rugby League, but most importantly the players and fans of the competing nations,” Dutton said.
“Ultimately, time and competing priorities from others forced us to make the most difficult decision in our six-year history.
“However, we and the sport of Rugby League are resilient, and next year we will deliver our vision of the biggest and best Rugby League World Cup ever.
“The wellbeing of all those involved in the tournament, particularly players and team officials, has been our priority.
“I would like to thank the RLWC2021 Board and my team for the relentless hard work and extraordinary measures that had been undertaken to create a safe and secure environment in line with other major sports events that have been successfully hosted in the UK this year.”
The Australia Rugby League Commission (ARLC) and New Zealand Rugby League (NZRL) pulled out on July 23 amid growing concerns for player welfare.
“In the current environment, the risks to the safety, health and wellbeing of the players and officials travelling from Australia to participate in the tournament this year are insurmountable,” ARLC chair Peter V’landys said.
Tournament organisers are yet to lock in a new date, but confirmed existing ticket holders will receive further information on ticket transfers and refunds no later than August 12.