Rugby League World Cup 2021 organisers will make 20,021 free tickets available to those who work in health and social care and in other key sectors critical to the coronavirus response.
Tickets were due to go on sale in July, though due to the outbreak organisers have agreed a new timeline allowing for flexibility around dates due to the uncertainty of the pandemic.
June 10 marks 500 days to go until the opening game on October 23 2021 at St James’ Park, which will see England take on Samoa in the men’s tournament.
The team-bases for the 21 nations involved in the three competitions will be revealed, in addition to a new tournament identity being made public.
Between this point and September, the organisers will detail the schedules for the men’s, women’s and wheelchair tournaments, plus the announcement of ticket tiers and prices.
Due to the current global situation, the organisers have decided not to put a date on these, having initially planned to release the schedule in April.
Jon Dutton, Chief Executive of RLWC2021, said: “Other sports, clubs, leagues and events have been acutely impacted by COVID-19 and our planning needs to be aligned and proportionate with the global crisis and respectful of more immediate needs.
“We have done various aspects of scenario planning and we believe the current plan is the most suitable at this point, however we know we are required to be flexible and adapt as and when appropriate.
“The team has made the unanimous decision to provide 20,021 free tickets to keyworkers in the UK as our way of saying thank you. The work, effort, dedication and sheer determination needs to be recognised and hopefully we can provide these local heroes and their families with something to look forward to next year.”
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Tickets will go on pre-sale in September, before a public ballot opens on October 23 – a year before the tournament starts.
Anyone will be able to request tickets for as many individual fixtures as they wish until 27 November 2020.
December 2020 will see fans receive the results of the public ballot and tickets will then go on general sale in early 2021.