Rugby League World Cup organisers prepared for delay to 2022
Plans are being drawn up to postpone the 2021 Rugby League World Cup to 2022 if the coronavirus pandemic looks likely to affect the staging of the competition in England.
The event, comprising men's, women's and wheelchair tournaments, is due to take place from 23 October to 27 November, 2021, but contingencies are being readied.
Jon Dutton, the RLWC2021 chief executive, told the BBC: “There are different options available to us and one of those of course is to postpone and push the tournament back. But we have to realise it’s 13 months away - if we think of what’s happened over the last three or four months the world has been turned upside down, so time is on our side.”
Dutton added that his organisation was examining “lots of different scenarios," although at this stage, it is confident that the event will go ahead as planned.
Across the sporting world, multiple events have had to be pushed back by 12 months because of the pandemic, both from this year to 2021, and from 2021 to 2022.
RLWC2021 is set to involve 32 teams and games at 21 venues across the three tournaments.
In July, the organisers announced a “historic” partnership with the International Rugby League under which the two bodies will collaborate on the sale of international broadcast rights.
Commercial activity has also been ramping up, with several agreements signed, including with Italian sportswear brand Kappa and logistics company Kuehne+Nagel as official sponsors, Riverside Brands as exclusive licensing agent and Cube Partnership as official retail and merchandise supplier.
Ticket sales are expected to get under way on 21 September.