The RFL has expressed its delight at the significant interest shown in staging matches in the 2013 England and Wales World Cup by towns and cities across the UK during a recent series of hosting seminars.
Around 150 representatives from prospective hosts attended the Host City Selection Process seminars in Cardiff, Leeds and Manchester to learn about the hosting criteria and the considerable benefits from being involved in the 14-nation tournament.
This Sunday, January 30, marks the 1,000-day milestone to the final of the 2013 England and Wales World Cup and Sally Bolton, the RFL’s Director of Events and Projects, is more than happy with the way plans are progressing.
“Although we’re still 1,000 days away from what will be a landmark day, both for Rugby League and the UK’s golden decade of sport, our plans are progressing well and we are on track to achieve our goal of making this event the most successful Rugby League World Cup of all time,” said Bolton.
“The interest we have received from potential host towns and cities is very encouraging.
“There is clearly a real excitement around the country about the opportunities that involvement in the tournament could bring to towns, cities and regions.
“There is an acknowledgement that the opportunity to host a World Cup in any sport doesn’t come along very often and we expect competition for hosting opportunities to be fierce.
“We plan to announce full details of the successful hosts and venues in November, which will provide each of the host towns and cities with two years in which to build towards the tournament.
“There is a lot of work going on behind the scenes, much of which by its nature has to remain confidential for now, but I anticipate that we will be in a position to make a series of announcements throughout 2011 as our talks with potential hosts, sponsors, broadcast partners and commercial partners reach fruition.”
The 2013 England and Wales World Cup was officially launched last November and will involve 14 nations, two of whom will gain entry through their participation in qualifying tournaments played in 2011.
Australia, Cook Islands, England, Fiji, France, Ireland, New Zealand, Papa New Guinea, Samoa, Scotland, Tonga and Wales have all been confirmed as competing nations and they will be joined by one qualifier from a European Qualifying Group consisting of Italy, Lebanon, Russia and Serbia and one qualifier from an Atlantic Qualifying Group consisting of Jamaica, South Africa and the USA.
The competition’s structure will consist of two groups of four, with England drawn alongside arch rivals Australia, Fiji and Ireland in Group A and World Cup holders New Zealand facing Pacific Island rivals Papua New Guinea, Samoa and France in Group B. Scotland will face Tonga and the European qualifiers in Group C and joint hosts Wales have been drawn against the Cook Islands and the Atlantic Qualifiers.