Rugby League World Cup: England announce bid for 2021 competition

Australia
Australia won the 2013 edition of the Rugby League World Cup in England

England will bid to host the World Cup in 2021, the Rugby Football League (RFL) has announced.

The RFL has received £15m from central government to support the bid.

A mixture of 12 rugby league and other sporting venues, including Old Trafford and Wembley, will be selected if the bid is successful in the autumn.

England, which hosted the 2013 contest, is the first country to confirm its bid with potential rival submissions from South Africa and North America.

The government will also supply an additional £10m to the RFL to benefit rugby league infrastructure in the north of England.

The RFL states 80% of World Cup games will be held in Lancashire and Yorkshire if the bid is successful, with "showpiece fixtures" in London, the Midlands and the North East. It wants to get one million supporters to attend across the 31 games.

"The idea of playing alongside my brothers and team-mates - not only on home soil, but in the country's most iconic venues in front of packed out crowds - is so exciting," said England international Sam Burgess.

The 2021 edition of the World Cup will be the biggest since 2000 with 16 teams and 31 matches.

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