Jon Dutton has been appointed as chief executive of the 2021 Rugby League World Cup, which will take place in England.
The 44-year-old will take up the position on February 1, 2018 upon leaving his current role as director of projects and people at the Rugby Football League, the sport’s governing body in England.
England was awarded hosting rights to the 2021 edition of the national team tournament in October 2016 after seeing off competition from the United States and Canada.
Dutton led the successful bid for the tournament, which resulted in a £25m (€27m/$32m) government funding award.
Dutton has previously worked for golf’s European Tour and the English Football Association, and was the operations director for the 2013 Rugby League World Cup, which was staged in England, Wales, France and Ireland.
In addition, Dutton served as director of readiness for the 2014 edition of the Tour de France cycling event’s Grand Depart, which was held in the English county of Yorkshire. He was also tournament director for last year’s Four Nations rugby league tournament in England.
“As a lifelong rugby league fan who has grown up watching the sport, I am privileged to have been given the opportunity to lead the team that will deliver the 2021 Rugby League World Cup,” Dutton said.
“Working on the 2013 World Cup provided me with tremendous experience and insight into how to host a successful tournament but the scope and scale of the 2021 Rugby League World Cup will provide completely different challenges and opportunities and I am excited to take these on in the coming years.
“Rugby league is one of the greatest sports in the world and I am determined that we will deliver a World Cup that this country and every sports fan in the UK will be proud of. We have an outstanding opportunity to deliver something brilliant for this sport and I am confident we will do so.”
Dutton will also so serve as the Rugby League International Federation’s (RLIF) tournament commissioner for this year’s Rugby League World Cup, which will be hosted by Australia, New Zealand and Papua New Guinea from October 26 to December 2.
Nigel Wood, chairman of the 2021 World Cup, added: “We had considerable interest in the role but Jon was without doubt the outstanding candidate. He has a wealth of experience and knowledge and has worked at some of the biggest sporting events and organisations in the world. He was also an integral figure in ensuring the outstanding delivery of the 2013 Rugby League World Cup and in securing the rights to host the tournament again in 2021.
“Jon outlined his vision for the 2021 tournament and we are all confident that he will deliver on this and that England will host the biggest and best Rugby League World Cup in the history of the competition.”
Australia is the defending World Cup champion, having defeated New Zealand 34-2 in the 2013 final at Manchester’s Old Trafford stadium.