2021 Rugby League World Cup postponed a year

Author
Newstalk ZB / NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Fri, 6 Aug 2021, 8:17AM
The Kiwis will not be performing the haka at the 2021 Rugby League World Cup. (Photo / Getty)
The Kiwis will not be performing the haka at the 2021 Rugby League World Cup. (Photo / Getty)

2021 Rugby League World Cup postponed a year

Author
Newstalk ZB / NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Fri, 6 Aug 2021, 8:17AM

The 2021 Rugby League World Cup has been postponed a year following the withdrawal of Australia and New Zealand a fortnight ago.

The tournament was due to kick off on October 23 but has been moved back a year.

The New Zealand Rugby League informed tournament organisers two weeks ago that the Kiwis and Kiwi Ferns would not be attending the event in England, due to Covid related player welfare and safety concerns.

New Zealand has participated in every World Cup since the inaugural tournament in 1954.

The Australian Rugby League Commission (ARLC) also confirmed that they would not be sending teams to the tournament.

"Today is a challenging moment for everyone involved in Rugby League, but most importantly the players and fans of the competing nations," said Jon Dutton, RLWC2021 Chief Executive Officer.

"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.

"We have always prioritised player voice and player choice. We have established a player working group, met with senior players and in the last few days commissioned a player survey to domestic players in Australia and New Zealand that showed more than 85% wanted to compete at RLWC2021 this year. However, following the disappointing decision of the ARLC and NZRL to withdraw, and the subsequent impact on player availability for other competing nations, it is apparent that delivering the tournament this year would not be feasible.

"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.

"I would also like to thank all our committed partners as well as the Rugby League community at large who have been so supportive of our trailblazing event. We appreciate the continued and unequivocal support of the UK Government, as well as the understanding of our competing nations."