Following extensive discussion with International Rugby League (IRL), Rugby League Players Association (RLPA), national federations and individual athletes, Rugby League World Cup 2021 (RLWC2021) can reveal the women’s tournament has been extended to provide additional turnaround time in between fixtures.
The original schedule was agreed in early 2018. Following rapid development of the international women’s game, it was collectively agreed to increase the turnaround time in between games from the original plan of a minimum of three days in the group stages, as it was in 2017, to a minimum of four days for 2021, with IRL looking to extend this further to a minimum of five days for the next women’s World Cup
The tournament will now start at the Emerald Headingley Stadium on Tuesday 9 November 2021. Anfield will still host the marquee women’s and men’s double header on Saturday 13 November, with Liverpool also hosting the wheelchair final later in November 2021, making it the only city to host all three RLWC tournaments.
The announcement follows RLWC2021’s decision to include prize and participation fees for both the women’s and wheelchair tournaments for the first time in the tournament’s history.
Jon Dutton, Chief Executive of RLWC2021, said:
“We have listened to and consulted every interested party over the last few months and we feel this is the best outcome for everyone, particularly the welfare of the athletes. It is important that we recognise the evolution of the women’s game and are at the forefront of leading the way on player welfare. We have received outstanding cooperation from our hosts, IRL, RLPA and nations and most importantly player representatives.”
Nigel Wood, Chief Executive of IRL, commented:
“This is a further example of what is being achieved by international rugby league working together collaboratively. We received feedback around the original programme and with a collective will on all sides, we have managed to provide a timetable that will ensure that the women’s tournament is an even more compelling spectacle.”
Clint Newton, General Manager of Stakeholder Relations at the RLPA, added:
“It’s refreshing when you identify shared objectives and work through a process in a genuinely collaboratively way to secure positive outcomes for the players, fans and the international game.
With improved minimum standards and conditions, and increased turnaround times between matches, RLWC2021 is shaping up to be the best in women’s rugby league history.”