Liverpool is to submit a bid to be part of England’s history making Rugby League World Cup in 2021.
The city has put together a cross-Mersey bid that will see venues such as Anfield and Prenton Park stage matches at the first major sporting tournament to simultaneously host a female, male and wheelchair competition.
Liverpool Football Club’s iconic home is being proposed to stage the men’s tournament, whilst Tranmere Rovers could stage the women’s event.
Liverpool City Council, which is working in partnership with Wirral Council, is also proposing to the tournament organisers that wheelchair matches could be staged at the Greenbank Sports Academy and the Echo Arena Liverpool on the Mersey waterfront.
The city, which will be hosting three major international sporting championships in the next two years – BISFed 2018 World Boccia Championships, Netball World Cup 2019 and the 2022 World Artistic Gymnastic Championships, has also set out plans to be the host city for a visiting nation.
Councillor Wendy Simon, Deputy Mayor of Liverpool and Cabinet member for Culture and Events, said: “Liverpool has developed a phenomenal track record in hosting major sporting and cultural events and the Rugby League World Cup in 2021 would be a fantastic fit for the city and wider region.
“With illustrious partners such as Liverpool FC and Tranmere Rovers, combined with our brilliant indoor venues at Greenbank and the arena, we can offer the organisers, teams and fans the full package in what they would be looking for in a vibrant and exciting host city.
“The fact the tournament will be the first to jointly host a women’s, men’s and wheelchair competition makes it a landmark moment in sport and it would be very special to be part of this historic occasion.”
Peter Moore, Chief Executive Officer, Liverpool Football Club, said: “Liverpool Football Club continues to invest in Anfield Stadium to make it a destination to host more sporting events and we’re delighted to support the council’s bid for the city to host the Rugby League World Cup 2021 here in Liverpool.”
Mark Palios, Chairman of Tranmere Rovers FC, said: “Tranmere Rovers are delighted to support the innovative bid by the City Region which aims to bring a big part of what promises to be the biggest Rugby League World Cup event ever staged, to Merseyside. Prenton Park will be a great platform for showcasing the Women’s World Cup and our new training facility at The Campus will be a quality, local base for the teams.”
Ben Williams, commercial director of The ACC Liverpool Group, which includes Echo Arena, said: “Hosting the Rugby League World Cup would be a fantastic addition to the roster of major sporting events which have taken place at Echo Arena, including the Davis Cup and British Gymnastics Championships for the past seven years. Forthcoming events such as BISFed 2018 World Boccia Championships and Netball World Cup 2019 highlight the entire region’s commitment to staging global tournaments.”
Liverpool’s bid will be formally submitted on Tuesday, 31 July. RLWC2021 will announce the host cities and successful venues in January 2019.
The tournament will be hosted between October and November 2021. It will feature 16 nations in the men’s format and 8 in both the women’s and wheelchair formats.