The host venues have today (Tuesday) been announced for the 2021 Rugby League World Cup in England, with Manchester’s Old Trafford stadium to stage the final of both the men’s and women’s tournaments.
The semi-finals of the men’s tournament will be held at Leeds’ Elland Road stadium and the Emirates Stadium in London. It will mark the first time that the Emirates (pictured), home of Premier League club Arsenal, has hosted a sport other than football.
Newcastle’s St James’ Park, which has successfully hosted Super League’s Magic Weekend for four seasons, will stage the men’s opening ceremony, with Anfield in Liverpool to stage the women’s equivalent. St James’ Park will also host the opening England men’s group game.
It will mark the first time that the men’s and women’s finals take place as a double-header at Old Trafford. Liverpool’s M&S Bank Arena (formerly Echo Arena) will also host the final of the wheelchair tournament.
Anfield will also host a quarter-final tie, as will the University of Bolton Stadium, Hull’s KCOM Stadium and the John Smith’s Stadium, home of Premier League team Huddersfield Town. The University of Bolton Stadium and the KCOM Stadium will also host a group-stage game.
Elsewhere, The Totally Wicked Stadium (St Helens), Halliwell Jones Stadium (Warrington) and Leigh Sports Village will each host three men’s group games. Coventry’s Ricoh Arena will host one men’s game, Club Doncaster will host three men’s group games and Sheffield’s Bramall Lane will host an England men’s group game. The EIS Sheffield will host a group and both semi-finals of the wheelchair tournament.
Leeds will host more games than any other city. As well as Elland Road hosting a men’s semi-final, Emerald Headingley Stadium will stage three men’s games and two women’s games. Completing the Yorkshire line-up, York’s Community Stadium will host a women’s group game and both women’s semi-finals.
It has also been confirmed that Middlesbrough’s Riverside Stadium will host a “significant” men’s group game, while the new Workington Community Stadium will stage three men’s group games.
Finally, London’s multi-purpose Copper Box Arena, which was built for the 2012 Olympic Games, will host the England group in the wheelchair tournament.
John 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 £25m to help put on a fantastic event, reach new fans and improve facilities, so the tournament leaves a real legacy.”
The draw for the event will take place on November 27 this year. The event itself is scheduled for October 23 to November 27, 2021.