Sheffield to find out if it will be hosting Rugby League World Cup within weeks

Those behind a bid to bring the Rugby League World Cup to Sheffield will find out if they have been successful next month.

Sheffield submitted its final bid to the competition’s organisers in October in the hope of convincing them the city should be given a taste of the 2021 tournament.

The Rugby League World Cup went on show at Sheffield Town Hall earlier this month. Pictured is player James Simpson and Cllr Mary Lea.

The Rugby League World Cup went on show at Sheffield Town Hall earlier this month. Pictured is player James Simpson and Cllr Mary Lea.

And organisers are due to make a final decision in January 2019 – after making site visits to assess facilities.

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Liam Claffey, Sheffield Eagles’ general manager, said he hoped the event could lead to drawing in crowds back to the club after being forced to play out of Sheffield for four years.

He said: “It could be massive for us. Our role in it is the development of rugby league building up to the event and to make sure there is a legacy afterwards.

“Being out of the city for four years, our support has not ceased to exist but it’s diminished considerably. But if we get a massive game at Bramall Lane, the knock-on effect would be immense.

“To have 32,000 people watching rugby league would be amazing.” 

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The 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.

Gary Clifton, major events manager at Sheffield Council, said: “We have gone for it because, arguably, it is in the top 10 sports events there are.

“Rugby league is an important northern sport and the reality is that you can’t win it if you’re not in it. We have bid for the men’s, women’s and wheelchair events, as well as being team hosts and holding a team’s training camp.”

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The tournament will be the first time the men’s, ladies and wheelchair competitions will be held at the same time and the men’s games will be broadcast live on BBC television.

Mr Clifton said: “The event will bring economic as well as sporting benefits to the city. The games will be on the BBC so it’s going to be going out to a global TV audience and it’s a chance to expose the city and Bramall Lane to the world.

“There is also going to be a lot of legacy work around the tournament as well, which we want to be part of.”