DW Stadium: Wigan's absence from World Cup venues 'will resonate across rugby league', says council leader

Wigan's DW Stadium last held an international game during England's Test series against New Zealand in 2015
Wigan's DW Stadium last held an international game during England's Test series against New Zealand in 2015

Wigan's absence from the list of venues for the 2021 World Cup "will resonate with all across the rugby league world", according to the town's council leader David Molyneux.

The DW Stadium, home of Super League champions and the sport's most successful club, Wigan Warriors, hosted a quarter-final in the 2013 tournament.

Leigh, in the Borough of Wigan, will host games at Leigh Sports Village.

"We should have got a game [in Wigan itself]," Molyneux told BBC Sport.

"We're extremely disappointed not to get a game at Wigan. We're still open to further conversations about the decision. I know there is a need to spread the gospel and grow the game, but we also need to support the heartland areas.

"We'll have conversations with organisers, but I don't anticipate any change."

In the north west, St Helens, Warrington, Leigh and Bolton were chosen ahead of Wigan, while Liverpool's Anfield and Manchester's Old Trafford grounds will hold matches later in the tournament.

However, Molyneux is hopeful the town can still play a part in the tournament.

"We certainly have the facilities for it, we can serve the accommodation and facilities required and we want to be a part of it," he added.

"We anticipate that rugby league players will want to come to Wigan regardless, so we are hopeful."

'Someone had to miss out'

Meanwhile, Arsenal FC's Emirates Stadium will host one of the tournament's semi-finals, the first time a non-football event has been held at the stadium.

"It was really difficult and unfortunately some people have missed out. We've been in a really privileged position," the 2021 Rugby League World Cup chief executive Jon Dutton said.

"We started off with 40 expressions of interest, we spent 12 months working with those consortia to whittle it down and make our decisions before announcing them.

"Someone had to miss out. Not just in Greater Manchester but around the north west we've got a proliferation of venues and Leigh Sports Village is part of Wigan.

"I much prefer it that way than the other way of us knocking on the door, asking people to be part of this competition, which is certainly not been the case."

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