Rugby League World Cup set to be postponed until 2022 after Australia and New Zealand withdraw

·1-min read
 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

The Rugby League World Cup is set to be postponed for a year, with an announcement expected on Thursday morning.

Tournament organisers held an emergency board meeting on Wednesday, with PA reporting that it was likely a decision would be made to put this autumn's event back to 2022.

An announcement was expected in the evening but, after the meeting overran, a communication on behalf of officials confirmed this would now be made at 7.30am (BST) Thursday and would be followed by a press conference.

The decision to postpone is set to affect the men's, women's and wheelchair competitions, all of which were due to be held simultaneously in England this October and November.

Organisers have been forced to admit defeat in their attempts to stage the World Cup as planned following the decision of Australia and New Zealand to withdraw.

The two heavyweight nations pulled out a fortnight ago citing safety concerns amid the coronavirus pandemic.

New dates will now need to be found for the rearranged tournament and organisers are likely to want to avoid a clash with the FIFA World Cup in Qatar from November 21 to December 18 next year. Venues will also need to be rebooked and broadcasting arrangements renegotiated

There will also now be a gap in the rugby league calendar this autumn. There have been suggestions the already heavily-disrupted domestic season could be extended as a result, or alternative internationals involving European nations staged.

Additional reporting by PA.

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