Hull has put forward its bid to host matches at the Rugby League World Cup 2021.
The city, which boasts a rich rugby league heritage, has submitted a proposal to become a host for the sport’s biggest international event, which will take place in England in three years.
A successful pitch would see two high-profile men’s matches – including a quarter-final – contested at the 25,586-capacity KCOM Stadium.
Hull’s bid is backed by the city’s two professional rugby league teams, Hull FC and Hull KR, plus the Superstadium Management Company and many of the city’s biggest institutions, including the University of Hull, Hull College, NHS Hull Clinical Commissioning Group, Visit Hull and East Yorkshire, the culture company Absolutely Cultured and Bondholders, the city’s business network.
It is hoped that hosting the tournament will strengthen Hull’s position as one of the country’s strongest rugby league cities.
Hull City Council Leader Stephen Brady said:
“The activities outlined in the bid show how committed to rugby league the city and city council are, and how, by hosting the World Cup in 2021, this will bring many positive impacts at all levels for the city and also rugby league.”
Cities and regions including Liverpool, Bradford and Keighley, Tees Valley and St Helens also put forward bids to host matches ahead of the deadline on Tuesday 31 July. Successful applicants from the initial round of bidding will proceed to the “candidate stage” in August, with hosts announced in January 2019.
The men’s group stage games will begin on 23 October 2021, with the “Epic Finals Weekend” taking place on 27 and 28 November 2021.
The KCOM Stadium has hosted high-profile international rugby league matches, including England’s 34-12 victory against Fiji at the 2013 World Cup.
Councillor Brady said the city is aiming to deliver “the biggest and best-ever Rugby League World Cup”.
“Working with rugby league to achieve Rugby League World Cup 2021 objectives will highlight the cultural and sporting richness within our great city and promote the appeal of the game which will include building a sustainable legacy, particularly through the health and social agendas.
“At the heart of our bid is to deliver the biggest and best-ever Rugby League World Cup, while increasing the profile of Hull and rugby league, and building on our ambitions to empower, enable and support our communities to be more active.
“Ultimately, I fully support the approach which the bid has taken, aligning programmes with our city-wide objectives, as set out in our City Plan, a ten-year plan which includes key ambitions to make Hull a place of opportunity for all and a world-class visitor destination.”
The tournament is contested every four years, with the 2021 tournament seeing men’s, women’s and wheelchair competitions staged in a single event for the first time.