Rugby League World Cup 2021
The Rugby League World Cup earlier scheduled for this year in England has been postponed.
The postponement follows the withdrawal of defending champions Australia and tournament organizers, New Zealand. Australia and New Zealand gave their reasons as the player welfare and safety against the Covid-19 pandemic.
The Australian Rugby League Commission (ARLC) and New Zealand Rugby League (NZRL) requested for organizers to postpone the event. The organizers said in a statement that the Rugby League World Cup 2021 and the UK government had announced their intention to stage the event in the international Rugby League calendar in 2022.
They were faced with several unique and complex challenges, including the non-release of up to 400 players. This decision has derailed the plans and ambitions of many of the competing nations and potential replacement teams.
Due to the pandemic, the critical factor in ensuring that fans of the Rugby League can enjoy the tournament is amiss. The Rugby Football League (RFL) chairman Simon Johnson had called Australia and New Zealand’s withdrawals “selfish, parochial and cowardly decisions.”
The vaccine rollout has been a success in the UK, although Covid-19 infections are increasing, while Australia is also battling outbreaks of Covid-19, but on a much smaller scale.
He added that he thinks it will take some time for the international rugby league to recover from this, and he hopes that they can be a beacon of light. He promised their fans that they wouldn’t be ending up in this position again, and they’ll make sure they don’t.
The UK Sports minister, Nigel Huddleston, had something different to say. He said that despite having worked tirelessly to explore solutions that would allow the event to go ahead as planned, circumstances beyond their control have interfered.
As a result, the Rugby League World Cup has been postponed until next year. Australia’s “Kangaroos” have dominated the World Cup, winning eight of the last nine editions dating to the 1970s. New Zealand, whose top players also compete in the NRL, won the 2008 World Cup hosted by Australia.
The fresh Covid outbreaks in Australia might have forced most states to reinstate restrictions. On the contrary, most coronavirus restrictions in England have been lifted.
Delaying the World Cup by a year could mean it might clash with the FIFA World Cup in 2022, but Dutton said a window would be found to avoid such a scenario. Sports Minister Nigel Huddleston showed his disappointment at the fact that the decision needed to be taken.
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