US rivals England for the 2021 Rugby League World Cup
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US rivals England for the 2021 Rugby League World Cup

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The US has thrown its hat into the ring to host the 2021 rugby league World Cup – putting England’s bid and the promise of infrastructure funding in jeopardy.

Sports marketing agency Moore Sports International has submitted the bid on behalf of the nation – a bid that had been welcomed by the boss of the Rugby League International Federation (RLIF).

Chief executive David Collier said the RLIF was “working diligently” to have rugby league “recognised as one of the world’s leading sports”. He added that the bid from the US “affirmed” the governing body’s belief that “greater opportunities lie ahead”.

Jason Moore, chief executive of Moore Sports International, highlighted the sport’s “already strong following in several US markets”, adding that rugby league’s “gladiatorial style” would play well with general American sports fans.

The bid to host the six-week tournament rivals that of England, which is hoping to host the event for the fifth time. The UK government has pledged £15m (US$19.9m, €17.7m) towards the bid, and an additional £10m (US$13.2m, €11.8m) for community and grassroots infrastructure, although the Rugby Football League (RFL) will only be eligible for the latter if the bid is successful.

If the US is granted the opportunity to host the tournament, it will represent a real chance to grow the sport across the pond, according to Matt Elliott, who guided the US team to the 2013 Rugby League World Cup.

“The opportunity for elite athlete and junior player development and the growth of rugby league in the United States is second to none,” he said.

However, there is a question mark over the venues which could be used, considering that the US has no purpose-built rugby league facilities. Moore said the bid committee would evaluate potential host cities and stadiums across the country.

The RLIF is expected to make a decision in November.

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The US has thrown its hat into the ring to host the 2021 Rugby League World Cup – putting England’s bid and the promise of infrastructure funding in jeopardy.
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