All 32 teams sign legally-binding participation agreements for World Cup

World Cup trophies

Every team competing in the men’s, women’s and wheelchair World Cup have signed legally-binding participation agreements, tournament chief executive Jon Dutton has confirmed.

Australia and New Zealand pulled out of the tournament going ahead last year due to Covid concerns. As a result, the World Cup was pushed back a year until 2022.

Dutton says the World Cup will definitely go ahead in 2022, with all sides reconciled.

In addition, he plans to fly to Australia in the New Year for more talks with NRL clubs who were thought to be behind the withdrawal decision.

He said: “We’ve had what I would describe as positive, conciliatory conversations.

“They did not want to play this year but they want to play next year. They appreciate how significant this is for international rugby league.

“We have 32 legally binding, signed agreements and we didn’t have that before.

“The main difference right now is having those levels of execution in place in terms of the agreements.

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“They’re as legally binding an agreement as any other contract we have. I genuinely believe that everyone, not just Australia and New Zealand, are behind this.

“It’s important for me to go to Australia and meet every club and chief executive. I’m targeting 50 meetings while I’m over there and doing what we couldn’t do over the past few months.

“Them signing the agreements adds more confidence. For all of us now, we can stop spending our time reflecting and we can go back to using the word ‘opportunity’.

“We’ve got more time to sell more tickets and create more of a social impact.”

CALENDAR: List of Rugby League World Cup fixtures – date-by-date by tournament

Participations nations in the World Cup:


Jamaica, Australia, Cook Islands, Fiji, Tonga, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, England, France, Wales, Scotland, Ireland, Greece, Italy, Lebanon.


England, Australia, Papua New Guinea, New Zealand, Canada, France, Brazil, Cook Islands


Australia, England, Norway, Spain, France, Scotland, Wales, USA

READ MORE: A player to watch from each nation at the World Cup

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