The Rugby League International Federation (RLIF) has formalised the process for awarding hosting rights for its 2021 World Cup by setting a deadline of the end of June for bids to stage the event.
The finalised documentation for the sport’s showpiece national team competition details that a winning bid is expected to be chosen in the fourth quarter of this year. RLIF chief executive David Collier said: “The Rugby League World Cup is the marquee event for our sport and requires world class facilities and infrastructure to provide the stage for the world's best players to deliver the highest quality of rugby for all our supporters and for the nations participating.”
The announcement comes after the Rugby Football League (RFL) in November welcomed a statement from UK Chancellor George Osborne that the government would back a bid for the 2021 World Cup, along with a future edition of cycling’s Road World Championships.
More than 450,000 fans attended the 2013 World Cup, in which 14 nations competed in 21 venues across the UK. In April 2015, UAE Rugby League president Sol Mokdad said that the country would also target a bid for the 2021 World Cup. The Middle East is not a traditional hotbed for the sport but Mokdad stated his belief that the facilities and financial backing are in place to host a competition that would add to the region’s growing roster of major sporting events.
The RLIF announced in February 2014 that Australia and New Zealand would co-host the 2017 World Cup, with the joint bid chosen over a rival pitch from South Africa. Papua New Guinea was granted hosting rights to three pool stage games in October.
The RLIF Board said that it noted the “good progress” being made by the World Cup 2017 operation, adding that discussions are well advanced with potential host cities.