Organisers of the 2022 Rugby League World Cup in England have today (Thursday) confirmed the dates for the tournament, which had originally been due to take place this year.

The event will run from October 15 to November 19, with Newcastle’s St James’ Park to stage the opening match and Manchester’s Old Trafford to stage the men’s and women’s double-header finals as originally planned.

The Rugby League World Cup had been due to run from October 23 to November 27 this year but the event was cancelled earlier this month after leading nations Australia and New Zealand said they would not participate due to concerns over COVID-19.

The new dates for the Rugby League World Cup mean that the event will join what is already a packed sporting calendar in 2022. England will stage the UEFA Women’s Euro from July 6-31, Birmingham is due to stage the Commonwealth Games from July 28 to August 8, and the men’s FIFA World Cup in Qatar will run from November 21 to December 18.

RLWC2021 said the new dates will maximise attendance and viewership at the event, with work ongoing to release a full revised match schedule by no later than the end of the year.

Organisers have also confirmed that all fans who had planned on attending this year’s event will have their tickets automatically transferred to the corresponding fixture next year. The first general admission ticket refund window will open today and run for three weeks for fans unable to attend next year.

RLWC2021 has also created ‘The Foundation Fan Squad’, an exclusive group which will receive a thank you pack including a wall planner, a chance to win exclusive prizes, access to content and other benefits.

RLWC2021 chief executive Jon Dutton said: “I am delighted that we have been able to announce the revised dates today and can now look forward to the biggest and best Rugby League World Cup ever in the autumn of 2022.

“The continuing conversations with all our supportive hosts and venues have been hugely positive. We are confident that we can deliver a similar tournament schedule, which will be communicated as soon as possible.

“Obviously, we are disappointed the tournament will not be happening as originally planned but we are determined to make next year a celebration of sport, unity, people, place and civic pride.”

Next year’s Rugby League World Cup will mark the first time that the men’s, women’s and wheelchair tournaments have been held simultaneously. A total of 21 venues across England are due to stage matches, with Elland Road, Emirates Stadium and Anfield among the non-rugby league stadiums that will play host.

Image: RLWC2021