Those behind a bid to bring the Rugby League World Cup to Sheffield will find out if they have been successful in just three weeks time.
Sheffield submitted its final bid to the competitions organisers in Octobner in the hope of convincing them the city should be given a taste of the 2021 tournament.
Now, Jon Dutton, chief executive of the RLWC 2021, said the board will announce the host cities on Tuesday, January 29 and dropped a big hint that the Steel City may well be in for a taste of the action.
He said: “I am both pleased and proud of the progress we have made with a small and dedicated team. I have to temper that with the realisation that we haven’t delivered anything yet and ultimately we will be rightly measured on outcomes.
“We had decided that if we wanted to stage another World Cup in England, it had to be bolder and braver than ever before – and in doing so, it had to capture the imagination of the wider population.
“Despite the unprecedented and seemingly never-ending instability in Whitehall, we won the biggest award of public funding into any sporting event since the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
“It is a funding award that shows intent from both the public and private sector that this tournament has to go beyond the sporting element and deliver great social benefit.”
The city's joint bid from Sheffield Council, Sheffield United, SIV and Sheffield Eagles means the world's top teams could play at Sheffield United’s Bramall Lane when the World Cup comes to England between October 23 and November 27, 2021.
Mr Dutton said: “As the RLWC2021 board deliberates on its final venue selections, it is fiercely important to acknowledge the incredible bids that we have received.
“Some towns and cities have been vocal and have run great PR campaigns, others have quietly beavered away ensuring that they have got buy-in at all levels. What binds everyone left in the competition is a huge desire to play a part in this event.
“Whilst not pre-judging any decisions, there will be a big focus on cities, and there will be a significant footprint in London. But crucially our commitment to the Government of delivering 80 per cent of the tournament in the Northern Powerhouse will be met.
“Rugby League was born in the North of England, 123 years ago, in the summer of 1895. The sport has a rich and proud heritage and at times has grappled with its identity, particularly around expansion. Rugby League has also overcome much adversity but remains a true innovator.
“I am hugely excited about delivering what will be the biggest team tournament in 2021, predominantly in the Northern Powerhouse. 15 million people live and work in the north, in some of the most vibrant, contemporary, cool, productive and diverse towns and cities in the UK.”