2021 Rugby League World Cup
|Number of teams||16|
The 2021 Rugby League World Cup will be the sixteenth staging of the Rugby League World Cup and will be held in England between 23 October 2021 and 27 November 2021. The tournament will include 16 teams, an increase of two from the last two tournaments.
On 27 October 2016, it was confirmed that England won the hosting rights for the 2021 Rugby League World Cup.
There were initially three bids for the 2021 Rugby League World Cup but the United Arab Emirates bid had to be cancelled due to the arrest of Sol Mokdad following a complaint from UAE rugby union officials.
England, and the United States and Canada were the two remaining bidders of the event. The English RFL received U.K. government support - £15 million to enhance the tournament and up to a further £10 million into the game's infrastructure - for the event to be staged in the country. The RFL mentioned they wanted the event to be the most attended in history with over 1,000,000 people attending the grounds over the tournament’s days. They were also planning to use 12 venues for the event which included non-purpose and rugby league-purpose stadiums.
The United States and Canada bid was initially a sole United States bid from an Australian sports marketing agency, Moore Sports International (MSI). Jason Moore of MSI stated that rugby league has a strong following in several US markets and that fans new to rugby league and "who have a hunger for gladiatorial-style sports are going to fall in love with this extraordinary game". Eight to ten cities, featuring venues from either the NFL or MLS, were planned for the event, offering Rugby League International Federation the opportunity to stage the tournament outside of Europe and Australasia for the first time. Canada Rugby League later announced they wanted to be a part of the United States bid stating that the cities of Vancouver and Toronto could also potentially host matches.
On 27 October 2016, RLIF announced that England had won hosting rights for the 2021 Rugby League World Cup. To avoid a conflict of interest, RFL Chief Executive Nigel Wood, who is chairman of the RLIF, and RFL Chairman Brian Barwick, a fellow RLIF board member, did not take part in the decision-making process.
The eight quarter-finalists of the previous tournament in 2017 earned automatic qualification to the 2021 tournament. As such, the allocations were confirmed as 6 teams from Europe (excluding hosts), 6 from Asia-Pacific, 1 from Middle East/Africa, 1 from the Americas, and 1 from an intercontinental play-off. Qualification began in earnest on 16 June 2018, and will conclude on 16 November 2019.
|Previous best result||World|
|Asia-Pacific||Australia||Automatic||15||Champions (1957, 1968, 1970, 1975, 1977, 1985–88, 1989–92, 1995, 2000, 2013, 2017)||1|
|Fiji||Automatic||5||Semi-finals (2008, 2013, 2017)||5|
|New Zealand||Automatic||15||Champions (2008)||3|
|Papua New Guinea||Automatic||7||Quarter-finals (2000, 2017)||10|
|Samoa||Automatic||5||Quarter-finals (2000, 2013, 2017)||7|
|Europe||England[a]||Hosts||6||Runners-up (1975, 1995, 2017)||2|
|France||European winners||15||Runners-up (1954, 1968)||6|
|Wales[a]||European runners-up||5||Semi-finals (1995, 2000)||11|
|Europe play-off 1|
|Europe play-off 2|
|Europe play-off 3|
|Europe play-off 4|
|Middle East-Africa||Lebanon||Automatic||2||Quarter-finals (2017)||9|
- Competed as part of Great Britain in 9 previous tournaments, finishing as winners on 3 occasions (1954, 1960, 1972). The squads largely consisted of English players, but also featured Welsh players in every tournament. Scotland (1954, 1968, 1977, 1989–92) and Ireland (1957) were represented by native-born players in some tournaments.
The full list of 21 venues to be used for the three tournaments (men's, women's and wheelchair) was announced on 29 January 2019. Eighteen venues will be used for the men's tournament and in addition Preston was announced as a training venue for the tournaments.
|Old Trafford||Emirates Stadium||Anfield||St James' Park||Elland Road||Riverside Stadium|
|Capacity: 74,994||Capacity: 60,260||Capacity: 54,074||Capacity: 52,405||Capacity: 37,890||Capacity: 34,742|
|Bramall Lane||Ricoh Arena|
|Capacity: 32,702||Capacity: 32,609|
|University of Bolton Stadium||KCOM Stadium|
|Capacity: 28,723||Capacity: 25,586|
|Kirklees Stadium||Headingley Stadium||Totally Wicked Stadium||Keepmoat Stadium||Halliwell Jones Stadium||Leigh Sports Village|
|Capacity: 24,500||Capacity: 21,062||Capacity: 18,000||Capacity: 15,231||Capacity: 15,200||Capacity: 12,000|
|Workington Community Stadium||York Community Stadium|
|Capacity: 8,000 (proposed)||Capacity: 8,005|
The draw will be finalised on 27 November 2019, exactly two years before the tournament final will be played. Teams from the same pot will not feature within the same pool.
|Pot 1||Pot 2||Pot 3||Pot 4|
Papua New Guinea
|England||BBC||All 31 matches live|
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- "Rugby League World Cup 2021: England chosen as hosts ahead of US & Canada". BBC. 27 October 2016. Retrieved 27 October 2016.
- "UAE plans bid to host the 2021 Rugby League World Cup". skySports. 2015-04-18. Retrieved 2015-04-19.
- "Sol Mokdad issues public apology to UAE Rugby Federation to end criminal proceedings against him". TheNational. 2015-05-25. Retrieved 2015-05-26.
- "England to bid for 2021 Rugby League World Cup". skySports. 2016-06-30. Retrieved 2016-07-01.
- Caldwell, Dave (2016-08-01). "Plan Seeks to Aid Rugby's Growth With a Global Event on U.S. Soil". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2016-10-30.
- "USA submit bid to host 2021 Rugby League World Cup". Nzherald.co.nz. 2016-08-03. Retrieved 2016-08-03.
- "Vancouver — and Canada — aiming to be part of 2021 Rugby League World Cup bid". TheProvince. 2016-09-16. Retrieved 2016-09-16.
- "England to host RLWC2021 - North America recommended for RLWC2025". Rlif.com. Retrieved 2016-10-30.
- "England beat USA to host Rugby League World Cup in 2021". Dailymail.uk.co. Retrieved 2016-10-27.
- "Statement from the RLIF Board meeting - March 28th 2017". rlif.com. Retrieved 3 October 2017.
- "2021 Rugby League World Cup: Emirates Stadium among host venues but Wigan misses out". BBC Sport. 29 January 2019. Retrieved 29 January 2019.
- "More countries to play in 2021 Rugby League World Cup". Daily Telegraph. 13 November 2018. Retrieved 15 June 2019.
- "Rugby League World Cup 2021: BBC secures rights to broadcast all 31 games". Sportspromedia.com. 26 January 2017. Retrieved 11 February 2017.