Growth of women’s game prompts World Cup change

James Gordon

Organisers of the 2021 World Cup have revised the schedule for the women’s tournament to give additional turnaround time between games.

Following discussions with the International Rugby League (IRL), Rugby League Players Association (RLPA), national federations and players, the minimum time between games in the group stage will be increased from three to four, with the IRL looking to extend this further to five for the next World Cup.

The tournament will start at Headingley on Tuesday 9 November 2021, before the marquee women’s and men’s double header at Anfield on Saturday 13 November.

Jon Dutton, Chief Executive of RLWC2021, said: “We have listened to and consulted every interested party over the last few months and we feel this is the best outcome for everyone, particularly the welfare of the athletes.

“It is important that we recognise the evolution of the women’s game and are at the forefront of leading the way on player welfare.

“We have received outstanding cooperation from our hosts, IRL, RLPA and nations and most importantly player representatives.”

The announcement follows the recent decision to include prize and participation fees for both the women’s and wheelchair tournaments for the first time in the tournament’s history.