Sheffield’s bid to host key matches for the 2013 Rugby League World Cup at Sheffield United’s Bramall Lane stadium has come under the spotlight.
Officials from the Rugby Football League visited the venue and associated facilities to consider the city’s bid.
Jon Dutton, the 2013 Rugby World Cup Host Cities Manager, and Martin Flynn, the RFL Regional Development Manager, met senior officials from the Blades at Bramall Lane, Councillor Helen Mirfin-Boukouris of Sheffield City Council, Mark Aston of the Sheffield Eagles, Gary Clifton, the council’s major sports events and programme 2012 manager, and players from the Sheffield Eagles.
Mr Dutton said Sheffield had made a strong bid. “My first impressions are really positive. The relationship that the football club and the Eagles have is impressive and although it’s not unique, it’s getting on for that. We have been to see the Sheffield Academy, which has some fantastic facilities. Our aspiration for all the stadia we use is to see full crowds and lots of enthusiasm.”
Sheffield United chief executive, Dave McCarthy, said hosting the World Cup at Bramall Lane makes good business sense for United.
“The event will also be beneficial city-wide and be a great inspiration to the region’s youngsters who can watch world-class rugby league at Bramall Lane. If the club can unite our own United Initiative and the Eagles’ community scheme, then there will be a sporting legacy that encompasses sport in general and not just football.”
Mark Aston, chief executive of Sheffield Eagles, added: “If we get the opportunity to host a RL World Cup match at Bramall Lane it will probably be one of the biggest achievements for Rugby League in South Yorkshire for many years.
“To stage a major RL World Cup game would also help the development of Rugby League in Sheffield and help with our ultimate aim of bringing Super League back to the City of Sport.” Councillor Mirfin-Boukouris, Cabinet Member for Business, Jobs and Growth, said: “Any sporting event that we bring to the city has got a multitude of benefits. It highlights our fantastic city centre and showcases the sports facilities that have ensured Sheffield is known as ‘the city of sport’. The World Cup will also attract thousands of people to our hotels, and it will be a fantastic inspiration to young people.”
The 2013 Rugby League World Cup will be the 14th staging of the Rugby League World Cup and will kick-off in October 2013.
There will be 14 competing nations from across the globe playing in 28 World Cup matches. The event will also form part of the UKs Golden Decade of Sport with the 2012 Olympic Games, 2014 Commonwealth Games and the 2015 Rugby Union World Cup.
The city will find out if its bid has been successfully in November.
To view a video of the inspection at Bramall Lane, visit http://bit.ly/m33J8g.