UK to host 2013 World Cup

The Rugby League International Federation announced today that the next Rugby League World Cup will be held in the United Kingdom in 2013.

The decision was one of many major issues discussed by the International Federation at a two day meeting scheduled in Singapore to determine the future of the International calendar and to discuss the allocation of funding to develop the International game.

The 2008 Rugby League World Cup, run by the Rugby League International Federation, was an outstanding success, attracting more than 290,000 fans including a substantial number of international tourists. The global television audience reached 19.2million people across some 120 countries and was the most widely broadcast Rugby League event in the game’s history.

Importantly the event was a commercial success, raising revenue that will be reinvested by the International Federation to strengthen development and to grow participation at all levels.

The RLIF this week announced details of the key investment strategy with the news released on Saturday that PNG would host the Pacific Cup in October this year (see copy of release attached to this email).

World Cup event research showed that 85% of respondents watched the Rugby League World Cup on television with 98% of respondents who watched saying that they enjoyed the international matches. Eighty-eight percent of fans identified as ‘passionate supporters’ believed the Rugby League World Cup was a great competition.

The decision to play the next World Cup in the northern hemisphere was based on a comprehensive business plan, submitted by the Rugby Football League (RFL), detailing plans to host the tournament in the United Kingdom, as part of the UK's 'Golden Decade of Sport'.

The decision to play the tournament in 2013 as opposed to 2012 was made to ensure the tournament is played outside an Olympic year in the future.

Deputy Chairman of the International Federation & RFL Chairman, Richard Lewis said:

“It is a great boost for Rugby League in the Northern Hemisphere to secure the World Cup in 2013.

“I thought that the 2008 tournament was an outstanding success and our goal is to build on that success and to deliver a profitable tournament that further enhances the International prestige of Rugby League.”

Developing more elite International Test matches and growing Rugby League in nations that could deliver future World Cup teams was agreed as a key basis for future funding grants as the RLIF looks to see its premier event grow in the years ahead.

Chairman of the RLIF, Colin Love AM, said:

“The RLIF is determined to build a stronger International calendar of matches and this year’s Pacific Cup is a perfect example of this.

“The Pacific Cup will see the Pacific nations: Tonga, Samoa, Fiji, the Cook Islands and Papua New Guinea compete in a two week tournament in Port Moresby in October - November with the winner given the chance to play in the 2010 Four Nations in Australia and New Zealand.

“This exciting concept will foster credible international competition and is expected to deliver entertaining Rugby League for fans in at the ground and across a wide television audience.”

The on-going development of the European Nations Cup and the need to ensure consistent matches for France, Wales, Scotland and Ireland was also addressed at the two-day meeting in Singapore.

When these events are combined with the Four Nations tournaments being held in 2009, 2010 and 2011 the RLIF believes the game will be assured of a strong calendar of International Rugby League that will build excitement on the road to the 2013 World Cup.

In the interests of balancing the work-load on players, the RLIF agreed that in every four year cycle, there will be no Four Nations tournament staged in the year prior to any Rugby League World Cup. A separate Test match schedule among nations will be developed.

The RLIF calendar will see Four Nations played in England in 2009, Australia and New Zealand in 2010, England in 2011 and then in Australia in 2014 (post the 2013 World Cup).

Elite competitions will be complimented with a range of funding grants that were agreed to fund a wide range of projects including grassroots development, elite youth academies, support for administrative staff, coaching accreditation and training courses.

“The RLIF provides funding to more than 30 Rugby League nations and I am excited about the potential for funds raised by last year’s tournament to be carefully allocated to achieve genuine growth in Rugby League participation at all levels from elite to grassroots globally”, Mr Love said.

Other issues discussed included player eligibility, international judiciary, maximising international commercial rights (broadcast & sponsorship) and the development of a long term strategic plan for International Rugby League.