Rugby League World Cup 2021: England chosen as hosts ahead of US & Canada

Young fan looks at the Rugby League World Cup
England's bid aims to attract more than one million fans to the 2021 event

England will host the 2021 Rugby League World Cup after being selected ahead of a rival bid from the United States and Canada.

It will be the biggest edition since 2000, with 16 teams and 31 matches.

England last hosted the competition in 2013, when Australia beat New Zealand 34-2 in the final at Old Trafford.

The Rugby Football League received £25m from central government to support its bid and plans to stage 80% of games in Lancashire and Yorkshire.

It also proposed "showpiece fixtures" in London, the Midlands and the north east of the country.

Rugby League World Cup final 2013
The 2013 final was held at Old Trafford - the home of Manchester United and the venue for the annual Super League Grand Final

A mixture of 12 rugby league and other sporting venues, including Manchester's Old Trafford and Wembley in the capital, are in line to host matches at the 2021 event.

The Rugby League International Federation (RLIF) has recommended that the 2025 tournament be staged in North America as it attempts to increase the global appeal of the sport.

The American-Canadian joint bid aims to stage the competition outside Australasia and Europe for the first time since it began in 1954.

While praising their "extremely compelling" proposal, the RLIF said that England were preferred "primarily based on the current rugby league participation numbers in North America."

The Toronto Wolfpack - Canada's first professional team - will compete in English rugby league's third tier in this coming season as part of the game's development in North America.

Nov 2013: Australia thrash NZ to win World Cup

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