York confirmed as Rugby League World Cup 2021 hosts


World class women’s sport will be coming to York’s new Community Stadium after it was announced today (29 January) that York was successful in its bid to host games in the Rugby League World Cup 2021.

York’s new stadium will reflect the inclusivity of the city by hosting both women’s semi-finals and a number of group stage matches in November 2021.

The news was broadcast live on the BBC Sport website from the launch event in Manchester, which was attended by Councillor Nigel Ayre, City of York Council’s executive member for culture, leisure and tourism. Partners involved in York’s bid celebrated the news at a screening at Everyman Cinema in the city, when they first heard which events York won.

York submitted a bid to host matches with a consortium consisting of the council, the University of York, York St John University, GLL, York City Knights and Make It York. 

The fixtures will be formally announced later this year, with tickets going on sale soon after.

Jon Dutton, Chief Executive of Rugby League World Cup 2021 said: “We are delighted that York will play an integral role in the women’s tournament at the new community stadium. York will host three group match days along with the double header semi-finals which is testament to the excellent bid the York partnership put together.”

Councillor Nigel Ayre, Executive Member for Culture, Leisure and Tourism said: “This is a brilliant result for the city which will see top quality international women’s sport come to our new stadium.

“To have both women’s semi-finals as well as numerous group games is fantastic. The city will be the focus and envy of the sporting world across four days in November as world class athletes from across the world compete. I can’t wait for it to all get started.”

Councillor Ian Gillies, Leader of City of York Council said: “The fact that York has secured such a great fixture list is the result of the partnership work that has taken place and the support we have received for our bid from across the city to bring the world cup to York.

“This will be an incredible event and offers the chance to see world class athletes from a wide range of nations in our new stadium. The matches will build on the city’s recent sporting legacy, with the Olympic torch, the Tour de France start and now world class rugby league in York, inspiring a whole generation of children and young people to get involved in sport.

“I would like to thank everyone who supported our bid, it is exciting times as we get ready to host this prestigious sporting event in 2021.”

Jon Flatman, Chairman of York City Knights said: “The York City Knights are proud to be part of what will be a fantastic opportunity for York and rugby league in the area. We are looking forward to working with our partners to maximise the impact this opportunity will bring to inspire the communities in and around York.”

Kay Rollinson, Assistant Coach at York City Knights, said: “This is fantastic for the city but more so for the game of rugby league. I’m thrilled to see the sport thrive within the city and surrounding areas, especially from a women’s perspective. Me and the York City Knights Ladies are so excited that we have the opportunity to host the women’s world cup in York and believe that it will encourage greater participation and inspire girls of all ages to play rugby league.”

Sir Gary Verity DL, Chief Executive of Welcome to Yorkshire said: “I’m delighted to see York named as one of the host locations for the Rugby League World Cup and it’s fantastic our county is once again leading the way for women’s sport after the city was named as the main hub for the Women’s competition. Yorkshire’s reputation for hosting global events has never been stronger and we can’t wait to welcome the world again in 2021, showing fans from all over the globe the beauty of God’s own county.”

Jason McGill, Chairman at York City Football Club said: "This is great news for the city and will help promote the local area, the new Community Stadium, and the growing participation of women in top level sport. This sees women's international rugby league continuing to grow and following the lead set by women's football."

Paul Whiting, Head of Visit York, said: “This is brilliant news.  York is already firmly on the map for horseracing and snooker and now we have the opportunity to engage with a completely new audience of potential visitors.  We’ve proven we can host world class events such as Royal Ascot and now we’ll have the chance again to showcase York to the world through this Rugby League World Cup event.”

Kirsty Parr, Social worker at City of York Council and York RI Ladies & York City Knights Ladies player, said: “It is fantastic that York has won the bid to host the Women’s Rugby League World Cup in 2021. I am a huge advocate for women and girls being involved in rugby league and this is a fantastic event for everyone in the city to be a part of. It is wonderful that we will have the opportunity to see such high quality rugby league on our doorstep, especially for the women and girls that are playing rugby in York, and those who will be inspired to start.”

Keith Morris, Head of York Sport at the University of York, said: “The University of York is delighted the city has been chosen as a host venue for the women's Rugby League World Cup 2021 and to be involved with partners who have successfully bid to make this happen.

“With our global perspective, and having previously hosted England rugby league training camps, we look forward to welcoming competing nations to the city and York Sport facilities on our campus.

"This year is already set to be big for women's sport in the UK and this announcement provides another excellent opportunity to engage, attract and inspire activity."

Rob Hickey, Executive Director of Growth & Infrastructure at York St John University, said: “As proud sponsors and partners with Championship club York City Knights, and a major provider of premium sporting facilities across the City, we are firmly behind the bid for the great city of York to host the women’s Rugby League World Cup in 2021. York is absolutely capable of serving such a prestigious tournament as a dedicated host, and as a university in the heart of the city we’d be honoured to be involved.”

Cath Murray, Customer Complaints & Feedback Manager at City of York Council and former York City Knights match day volunteer, said: “As a long term supporter of the game and an advocate for people of all ages, abilities and genders being able to participate in the sport both on and off the pitch, I welcome the Rugby League World Cup 2021 to York. It is such a great opportunity to host this fantastic event and show case the sport to women and girls at international level.”

Paul Bickle, York Partnership Manager GLL, said: “We are delighted that York has been successful in being awarded Rugby League World Cup matches in 2021.

“GLL is a leisure social enterprise which exists to get people more active. This prestigious event will not only promote sport for women and girls but will raise the profile of the soon to open York Community Stadium and the first class and accessible community sports facilities we will be running there in partnership with City of York.

“We are very much looking forward to bringing our knowledge and experience to support the event.”

L-R Bethany Lockwood, Ashley Hyde, Bev Langan

L-R Bettie Lambert, Kay Rollinson, Bethany Lockwood

Photo credit: Charlotte Graham @ www.charlottegraham.photography