With 500 days to go until the opening fixture of the Rugby League World Cup 2021, tournament organisers have revealed York’s role in the global event.
Brilliantly, we will be hosting both the world’s top men’s and women’s teams – New Zealand, ranked number one in the men’s game, and current holders of the women’s trophy Australia – and the New Zealand women’s team, ranked second in the world.
York will also host the France and Cook Islands women’s teams.
York was named as a host city back in January 2019, and we knew then we would play host to both women’s semi-finals and a number of group stage matches in November 2021.
City of York Council leader Keith Aspden said: “To have both the men’s and women’s team from New Zealand, an iconic rugby league nation, is excellent news and a reflection of the fantastic city York is and the quality sports facilities and accommodation available.
“We look forward to welcoming them and the women’s world champions Australia, the Cook Islands women team and France women’s team staying in the city.”
Cllr Keith Aspden said: “Today’s news is the result of hard work across York to bring the Rugby League World Cup to the city and I would like to thank everyone, including our partners, residents and local businesses, who have supported these efforts. In the meantime, we will continue to focus our efforts on the city’s recovery plan, so York can build back better ahead of the RLWC in 2021.”
Councillor Darryl Smalley, executive member for culture, leisure and communities said: “To have such a great mix of countries playing, training and staying in the city is amazing and the games that will take place in the LNER Community Stadium are not to be missed. This tournament will be viewed across the world and I have no doubt these teams inspire a new generation of athletes here in York. We all look forward to welcoming them and their fans to our city – showcasing York on the global stage.”
Sean Bullick, managing director at Make It York said: “We are delighted that York will be one of the host cities for the Rugby League World Cup in 2021 and that we will be welcoming such fantastic international teams to stay in the city for the duration of the tournament. Looking ahead to 2021, this will be a key event in the city’s calendar and will really showcase York on the international stage with a sport that is ever growing in popularity. “
Across the city, partners have been working with the Rugby League World Cup team to bring the event to York – including City of York Council, York City Knights, Make It York, GLL, York St John University, University of York and Queen Ethelberga’s – with the games set to be held at the new LNER Community Stadium next year.
Jon Flatman, Chairman, York City Knights said : “ This is the most excellent news for the city, the region and world class sport. I would like to express my thanks to the City of York Council, Make It York, both Universities and hoteliers for working in partnership to create an offer which we hope is life changing for local residents and the wider community. York is the most wonderful city to live, learn and enjoy and I am sure the region will take all of the teams to heart and make them very welcome.”
Harry Gration MBE said: “News that the RLWC is coming to York will be a fantastic boost to the city, the York City Knights and the new community stadium. The Knights have done a great job in establishing a core of devoted fans of the game and here is the opportunity to build that into a lasting legacy.”
RLWC2021 has today also revealed new branding for the tournament, celebrating the power of together, focusing on human interest stories and emotional connections, with the goal of connecting with a universal audience.
The new branding will also include bespoke elements from York, drawing on recognisable icons and displaying the sense of civic pride the city has. RLWC2021 will be asking people from York to vote on the icons that make up their custom patterns in the coming months.
Jon Dutton, RLWC2021 chief executive, said: “York is a wonderful city with a rich history and we’re all thrilled that it’s playing such a major role in Rugby League World Cup 2021. The city will be hosting some of the biggest names in the sport and a wealth of incredible talent in 2021 and I know the people of York will be incredibly welcoming hosts.