Sheffield advances to shortlist in Rugby League World Cup 2021 bid

Sheffield is now one step closer to hosting Rugby League World Cup fixtures in 2021.

Organisers of the Rugby League World Cup 2021 have announced that the city’s joint bid from Sheffield City Council, Sheffield United, SIV and Sheffield Eagles has passed the first stage of the selection process.

Submitted in July this year, the bid is for the 32,600 capacity Bramall Lane stadium to stage a number of men’s matches, with games in the women’s tournament and the wheelchair tournament at Sheffield Olympic Legacy Park and the English Institute of Sport Sheffield.

If successful, fixtures will be played at the Blades’ home ground when the tournament comes to England between 23 October 2021 and 27 November 2021.

In addition, games in the Ladies and Wheelchair competitions will be played at Sheffield Olympic Legacy Park and the English Institute of Sport Sheffield. There is also potential for the city to be hosting one of the competing teams.

Councillor Mary Lea, Sheffield City Council’s cabinet member for culture, parks and leisure, said: “The Rugby League World Cup is a very high-profile, global event, and the rewards of a successful bid could be very substantial, not only in terms of the economic returns, but also in terms of the huge boost to development of the city’s Rugby League traditions, and in terms of the inspiration we know that top flight sport in Sheffield provides to all our citizens, but particularly to young people.”

Rugby League World Cup 2021 officials will now make site visits to the city’s facilities and write an assessment report review. A final decision on the host venues will be made in January 2019.

Dave McCarthy, operations director at Sheffield United, added: “To make the candidate stage for such a prestigious global event is incredible for the club and the city and will generate income which will be reinvested back into the Blades.

“The Rugby League World Cup 2021 team are looking to deliver the most viewed tournament ever which will showcase Sheffield to a global audience of millions. Through continual investment in the stadium, we’re capable of attracting the biggest and best events to Bramall Lane.”

The 2021 Rugby League World Cup will be the sixteenth staging of the event. The tournament will be one of the most inclusive and diverse events ever hosted in England, incorporating the Men’s, Women’s and Wheelchair World Cup disciplines.

Andrew Snelling, chief executive of SIV, which operates 13 sport and entertainment facilities in Sheffield, said: “We’re really proud to be part of the team which has helped Sheffield onto the candidate city shortlist. Our sporting facilities are some of the best in the country and it would be a privilege to host this prestigious event.”

The Rt Hon Richard Caborn, project lead for Sheffield Olympic Legacy Park, added: “This is fantastic news for Sheffield and a credit to our bid team who have worked incredibly hard to reach this stage so far. Sheffield is a passionate rugby city and it would be hugely exciting to see some of the world’s top teams play at Bramall Lane.”

Liam Claffey, chief operating officer at Sheffield Eagles, concluded: “We have and are continuing to work closely with all parties and we have had positive discussions with RLWC 2021 officials about the desire for the Eagles to be an integral part of the city’s’ bid to help spread rugby league within the region and for the Rugby League World Cup 2021 to leave a lasting legacy in Sheffield.”