Rugby League World Cup 2021 prepares to relaunch this week

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The road to the rescheduled Rugby League World Cup 2021 (RLWC2021) officially begins today (November 15) as organisers confirm the 61-match chedule will be revealed in full on Friday, November 19, at 9am GMT.

The tournament was postponed in August after Australia and New Zealand pulled out.

In recent weeks, organisers have worked collaboratively with all tournament partners to finalise the 61-match schedule which will kick off at St James’ Park, Newcastle on October 15, 2022, when England men take on Samoa men. The tournament will then culminate at Old Trafford, Manchester, on November 19, 2022, with the men’s and women’s double-header final.

In a unique and busy year of international sport and events, staged both domestically and overseas, only five RLWC2021 fixtures (four match-days) have been affected during the rescheduling of 61 matches staged at 21 iconic venues, across 18 host towns and cities.

These changes are the switching of two fixtures between existing venues and the movement of two events to alternative venues.

Despite collective best efforts this has resulted in the disappointing loss of both Anfield Stadium and the M&S Bank Arena, Liverpool, from the schedule due to the Anfield Road expansion and prior commitments, respectively. However, Liverpool will still play a key role during the tournament with the city providing the training bases for Italy and Tonga. The details of the venue switch and replacement venues will be revealed this Friday, November 19.

All 32 teams across the 21 competing nations participating in the men’s, women’s and wheelchair tournaments have fully committed to the tournament in 2022. In addition, organisers can also confirm the re-introduction of the Physical Disability Rugby League World Cup, hosted in Warrington, which will welcome Ireland as a sixth participant.

General admission tickets and hospitality for all 61 matches will be back on sale from 9am on November 19, in line with the full schedule reveal.

Fans who have purchased tickets for the small number of revised fixtures will be contacted with information on what will happen next with their tickets. A dedicated refund window will be available from Wednesday, November 24, to request refunds.

In unprecedented coverage in the UK, the BBC has reaffirmed that every minute of all 61 RLWC2021 matches will be shown live and free across its platforms.

Jon Dutton, RLWC2021 chief executive, said: “For everyone involved in this trailblazing tournament, today is a very important and exciting milestone on our journey to 2022.

“We have suffered a setback, but since that moment in August we have dedicated all our energy towards rebuilding.

“A huge amount of work has gone in behind the scenes and thanks to so many people we have the opportunity to deliver a bigger and better tournament next autumn.

“I want to thank all partners, in particular the UK Government, our broadcast and commercial partners, the administrators of the competing nations for their full commitment, as well as our host towns, cities and venues for providing the perfect stage for the best players in world to shine.

“I also want to extend a special thanks to the incredible number of loyal fans who held onto their tickets and have continued to support this event that will see the men’s, women’s and wheelchair tournaments take place simultaneously for the first time ever.”

Sports Minister Nigel Huddleston, said: “Rugby league means so much to many people across the country, so I’m delighted the Rugby League World Cup is on track to kick off next autumn.

“The UK has a strong record of hosting major international sporting events and this will be another fantastic opportunity to showcase our towns and cities, and to inspire our young people to get involved in sport.

“The Government is a keen supporter of rugby league, and we absolutely can’t wait to host the world’s best teams in what is set to be a bumper year of sport and culture in 2022.”

Troy Grant, IRL chairman, said: “Everyone appreciates that international rugby league has a huge part to play in the future growth of the sport and the tournament is something the world of rugby league can now look forward to with great excitement.

“The IRL would like to thank RLWC2021 chair, Chris Brindley, and CEO Jon Dutton, as well as the wider RLWC2021 team for the thorough and time effective response to postponement and with the full schedule to come this week players, administrators and fans can start to plan their role in creating sporting history.”

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