Rugby League World Cup: Organisers confident of 2021 schedule but do have 2022 'push-back' option

Australia lifted the 2017 World Cup, held down under
Australia lifted the World Cup in 2013 and 2017, and England or Great Britain have not won the competition since 1972

Contingency plans are in place to push back next year's World Cup in England to 2022 should coronavirus make staging the tournament impractical.

Organisers remain confident the event - which kicks off next October - will go ahead as scheduled and ticket sales will open to fans on 21 September 2020.

Ongoing uncertainty around Covid-19 has already seen events such as the Tokyo Olympics moved from 2020 to 2021.

"We have lots of different scenarios," RLWC21 chief executive Jon Dutton said.

He told the BBC's Super League Show: "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."

The tournament will be the first in which men's, women's and wheelchair events will run simultaneously, and the final at Old Trafford on 27 November 2021 will be the first staged as a men's and women's double-header.

England open the tournament against Samoa at St James' Park, while Arsenal's Emirates Stadium and Middlesbrough's Riverside Stadium are among the venues selected, alongside more familiar rugby league grounds such as Elland Road in Leeds, Hull's KCOM Stadium and the John Smith's Stadium in Huddersfield.

"We've had a really positive reaction," Dutton added. "We shouldn't forget we're staging three tournaments together for the first time.

"It's 61 games across 21 venues across five weeks, and it's going to be a feast of rugby league."

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