Rugby League World Cup 2021 might be postponed to 2022 after cancellation
This year’s Rugby League World Cup, which was due to take place in England in the autumn, will be postponed to 2022 after defending champions Australia and New Zealand have withdrawn.
The World Cup with men’s, women’s and wheelchair competitions was due to begin in Newcastle on October 23.
An announcement to confirm the decision is expected on Thursday.
This was followed by a series of emergency meetings convened following the abrupt withdrawal of Australia and New Zealand.
Organizers were told just four minutes in advance that antipodean neighbors were due to leave on July 22, with Rugby Football League (RFL) chairman Simon Johnson calling it a “selfish, narrow-minded and cowardly decision”.
Jon Dutton, executive director of the tournament, did it last week a “50-50” chance to continue as planned this year after discussions with the board of directors and numerous stakeholders, including players.
New Covid outbreaks in Australia have forced most states to reintroduce restrictions, while most coronavirus restrictions in England have been lifted despite a surge in cases – although those numbers seem to be falling.
There have been concerns that players and staff will have to be quarantined for 14 days on their return to Australia as the country’s borders are currently closed due to the pandemic.
Rugby League officials estimate that around 400-500 players, staff and team officials in the Australian National Rugby League – which represent several different countries – would face quarantine measures upon their return to the country after the tournament.
These measures would mean that the players would not return to their NRL clubs until two weeks before the start of the auditions for the 2022 season.
If you take into account the women’s and wheelchair events, the number of those affected is significantly higher.