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Leeds Announced As Rugby League World Cup 2021 Host

Rugby League World Cup 2021 (RLWC2021) has today announced the chosen host towns, cities and venues for the tournaments taking place in England in two years’ time.

Set to be the most inclusive rugby league event ever, RLWC2021 will see the men’s, women’s and wheelchair tournaments played concurrently for the first time.

Leeds will host three men’s matches at Emerald Headingley Stadium and one semi-final match at Elland Road. The city has also being awarded four games for the women’s Rugby League World Cup which will be played at Headingley.

Another UK first will see the women’s and men’s finals take place as a double-header at Old Trafford, and further west, Liverpool’s M&S Bank Arena Liverpool will host the wheelchair final.

The Emirates Stadium will host a men’s semi-final, making rugby league the only sport other than football to have been played at the home of Arsenal FC. The men’s opening ceremony will take place in Newcastle at St. James’ Park, following four successful seasons as the host of Magic Weekend. Fellow North-East venue, Middlesbrough’s Riverside Stadium will also host a men’s game and the UK’s City of Culture in 2021, Coventry will feature.

Tournament organisers have met the Government target of hosting at least 80% of the tournament in the Northern Powerhouse; Doncaster, Huddersfield, Hull, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester, Newcastle, Sheffield and York are amongst the Northern towns and cities making up the final list. Leeds will host several fixtures, including a men’s semi-final and two women’s fixtures across Elland Road and Emerald Headingley Stadium. In addition to the Wheelchair final, Liverpool will also host the women’s opening ceremony and a marquee men’s quarter final at Anfield.

York will host multiple games in the women’s World Cup including both semi-finals. With new venues and an increased profile, RLWC2021 will also be the biggest ever tournament for wheelchair rugby league, with London’s Copper Box Arena hosting England’s group at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.

Elsewhere there will be a heavy presence of core rugby league venues featuring, including St Helens, Warrington, Leigh and Workington, where a new purpose-built stadium will host three men’s games.

The Leader of Leeds City Council, Councillor Judith Blake, commented: “We are absolutely thrilled and excited that Leeds has been named as a host city for the Rugby League World Cup 2021.

“The game of rugby league is woven into the very fabric of our city, and we are looking forward to once again showcasing Leeds to sports fans from across the globe through the world cup matches, that will be played at our famous and iconic Headingley and Elland Road stadiums. To have the opportunity to also host one of the semi-finals is tremendous and something we are really looking forward to.

“As we enter what promises to be an extraordinary year of sporting events in Leeds, this announcement is another example of our city’s growing world-class reputation for hosting world-class international events.”

Speaking about the announcement, Jon Dutton, Chief Executive of the Rugby League World Cup 2021, said: “I would like to congratulate all of our chosen hosts who have worked so hard in submitting such compelling bids. Each and every host now has the opportunity to galvanise and inspire their respective communities ahead of the competing nations arriving in England. With all three tournaments running concurrently, RLWC2021 will give the chance for people across the country to engage in a variety of ways and really look forward to October and November 2021.

“This was an incredibly tough process given the large number of interested parties and the impressive nature of their bids. With so many competitive bids, we’re confident that our chosen hosts will help play a role in delivering the greatest, and most inclusive, Rugby League World Cup of all time.”

Mims Davies, Minister for Sport and Civil Society, added: “The UK is renowned for putting on some of the biggest and best sporting events in the world and the Rugby League World Cup 2021 will be no exception. This tournament will provide a stage for the world’s best players in the men’s, women’s and wheelchair game to shine in cities and towns across the country. It is an exceptional opportunity to grow the sport. We are investing £25 million to help put on a fantastic event, reach new fans and improve facilities, so the tournament leaves a real legacy.”

Full list of game venues/hosts across men’s, women’s and wheelchair fixtures:


Doncaster – Club Doncaster will host three men’s group games.

Kirklees – The John Smiths Stadium will host a men’s quarter-final.

Hull – The KCOM Stadium will host two men’s games, including a quarter-final.

Leeds – Hosting more games than any other city, Elland Road will host a men’s semi-final and Emerald Headingley Stadium will host three men’s games and two women’s games. Elland Road will host one of the men’s semi finals, Emerald Headingley will host seven matches made up of three men’s games and four women’s games. The women’s games are across two match days with a double header on each day. Taking the total number of matches held in Leeds to eight.

Sheffield – Bramall Lane will host an England men’s group game. The EIS Sheffield will host a group and both semi-finals in the wheelchair tournament.

York – The Community Stadium will host a women’s group game and both women’s semi-finals.


Bolton – The University of Bolton Stadium will host two men’s games, including an England group game and quarter-final.

Liverpool – Anfield will host the marquee quarter-final tie along with the women’s opening ceremony and initial England game. M&S Bank Arena Liverpool will host the wheelchair Rugby League final.

Preston – First training base to be revealed.

St Helens – The Totally Wicked Stadium will host three men’s group games.

Trafford – Old Trafford will host both the men’s and women’s finals as a double-header event.

Warrington – The Halliwell Jones Stadium will host three men’s group games.

Wigan and Leigh – Leigh Sports Village will host three men’s group games.


Coventry – The Ricoh Arena will host one men’s game.


Middlesbrough – The Riverside Stadium will host a significant men’s group game.
Newcastle – St James’ Park will host the opening England men’s group game including the men’s opening ceremony


Allerdale – The Workington Community Stadium will host three men’s group games.


London – The Emirates Stadium will host a men’s semi-final. The Copper Box Arena will host the England group in the wheelchair tournament.

The draw for the RLWC 2021 will take place on 27th November 2019.
To watch the host announcement broadcast which is currently live on BBC Online, please visit www.bbc.co.uk/sport/live/rugby-league/46908615