Liverpool is to play a unique role in England’s history-making Rugby League World Cup in 2021.
The tournament’s organisers have announced this morning that Liverpool will be the only city to stage a series of showpiece games across all three formats of the competition – men, women and wheelchair – at two iconic venues.
Liverpool FC’s world-famous Anfield stadium will host both a men’s quarter-final and the opening match and ceremony for the women’s tournament, while the M&S Bank Arena on the banks of the River Mersey will host the final of the wheelchair competition.
The next edition of the Rugby League World Cup is the first major sporting tournament to simultaneously host a female, male and wheelchair competition.
The news means Liverpool will be hosting three major international sporting championships in the next three years, including the Netball World Cup this summer and the 2022 World Artistic Gymnastic Championships.
The 2021 Rugby League World Cup will be hosted between October and November. It will feature 16 nations in the men’s format and 8 in both the women’s and wheelchair formats.
Councillor Wendy Simon, Deputy Mayor of Liverpool and Cabinet member for Culture and Events, said: “Liverpool is a fantastic fit for the Rugby League World Cup 2021 and we are delighted and honoured be the only city to host all three formats at this historic tournament.
“With illustrious partners and venues such as Anfield Stadium and our arena, we’ll be going all out to offer the organisers, teams and fans a truly exciting and unforgettable experience.”
Jon Dutton, Chief Executive of RLWC2021, said: “As the only city to host a match across the men’s, women’s and wheelchair events, Liverpool is going to be a key destination during the Rugby League World Cup. We’re delighted to be bringing some of the competition’s biggest moments to a city with such a rich sporting history.
“With the women’s and wheelchair competitions taking on added importance in 2021, it’s great to see Liverpool also playing host to both the women’s opening ceremony and the Rugby League World Cup wheelchair final. We know that the local community will give bring an incredible atmosphere to all matches including the iconic Anfield stadium hosting the marquee quarter-final men’s game.”
Peter Moore, Chief Executive Officer, Liverpool Football Club, said: “Liverpool Football Club is delighted to play its part in hosting the Rugby League World Cup 2021. Anfield Stadium is renowned for its award-winning welcome and we very much look forward to extending that welcome to fans of both the men’s and women’s rugby league games in 2021.”
Ben Williams, commercial director of The ACC Liverpool Group, which includes M&S Bank Arena, said: “It is an honour to be selected as one of the host venues for the Rugby League World Cup in 2021 adding to the growing portfolio of major sporting events taking place in the city, including the Netball World Cup later this year and the World Artistic Gymnastic Championships in 2022. We look forward to hosting the wheelchair final at the M&S Bank Arena.”