Rugby League World Cup Delayed

Statement from the Mayor of West Yorkshire.

4 August 2021

Tracy Brabin, Mayor of West Yorkshire, said:

"It’s really disappointing that the Rugby League World Cup is being postponed.

We were due to host nine games in West Yorkshire, and I know our already hard-hit hospitality industry could have really done with that much needed boost after a difficult 18 months – particularly after we saw that other major sporting events could take place successfully this year.

But it’s not just the economics and what it would have meant for local businesses.

Rugby league was founded here in West Yorkshire, in Huddersfield, and it means so much to the people of West Yorkshire - it’s at the heart of many of our communities.

So, I know how disappointed fans will be to learn that it is being delayed, just 78 days before it was due to kick off.

And it’s the human impact of what we are missing out on. This year’s world cup was due to be the most inclusive ever, with a new focus on women’s and wheelchair games. Yesterday, I was able to visit Birkenshaw Blue Dogs who are launching their first ever girls’ rugby team after so many girls took part during lockdown.

Our rugby league teams and clubs here are at the top of their game in terms of outreach and expansion, and it’s a lesson to us all in the importance of community spirit and pulling together during the pandemic.

And its focus on affordable and accessible ticket prices means that thousands of people will have to miss out on watching world class sport here on their doorstep.

I know this decision wasn’t made lightly. And once it does come back I look forward to joining with fans and getting down to Huddersfield, Headingley and Elland Road stadiums to watch as many games as possible and show some support."