Rugby League World Cup not given formal go ahead for 2021 despite Covid-19 roadmap

RUGBY League’s World Cup has not yet been given the green light despite Boris Johnson’s announcement fans will be back in grounds from May.

The tournament is scheduled to take place in October and November and can do so even with socially distanced attendances.

But despite the promise that all could be back to normal on June 21, bosses have not said it is all systems go.

SunSport understands factors like international travel and quarantine rules both here and in competing countries need to be weighed up.

Also, while the UK may be surging ahead with vaccination programs, Australia has only just given its first person a jab and there is progress in countries like Papua New Guinea and Brazil to keep in mind.

March was always given as the date when a call will be made on whether to hold the World Cup, scheduled to start on October 23 with England v Samoa at Newcastle’s St James’ Park.

However, SunSport understands there is a chance a decision over delaying for 12 months or cancelling may even wait until May.

After the Prime Minister's announcement, World Cup chief executive Jon Dutton was cautiously optimistic.

He said: "We are greatly encouraged by the roadmap for the return of spectators to sports stadia, which was detailed by the Prime Minister in Parliament.

"We recognise that there are still challenges ahead, but we very much hope that this tournament, predominantly being staged in many of the hardest hit areas across the North of England, will play a part in the nation’s pandemic recovery plan and will be the biggest and best ever Rugby League World Cup."

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