Statement from RFL Chair Simon Johnson following confirmation of the postponement of RLWC2021
“The RFL shares the bitter disappointment of the RLWC2021 team that they have been left with no choice but to postpone the Rugby League World Cup. They tried everything within their power to continue with the tournament this year. We are so grateful for their efforts, especially to create a world class and safe biosecurity regime but we note their view that ultimately the challenges were too great to hold the Tournament this year.
However we also share the RLWC2021 team’s determination to bounce back from this intense disappointment, and to fulfil the declared objectives of delivering the biggest and best Rugby League World Cup in history in England, only now in 2022.
We remain convinced that it would have been possible to deliver a safe and successful tournament in England this autumn, and we congratulate the RLWC2021 team for doing everything possible to achieve that on behalf of the players who have been preparing to compete – Men’s, Women’s and Wheelchair – and the thousands of supporters who have bought tickets.
However we also recognise that Covid-19 has presented challenges to all sport over the last 18 months, and that these challenges have affected different nations in different ways.
We look forward to working with Government, the IRL, and other partners to ensure that all 21 nations in the three draws rapidly confirm their commitment to celebrate Rugby League in England in 2022 so that we can rebuild the excitement of the Rugby League World Cup..
We have this morning communicated with the players and officials in our England Performance Unit, reassuring them that while we share the disappointment they will feel at this postponement, we will maintain and step up our support to ensure they are ready to challenge for three World Cups in 2022.”
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