RUGBY LEAGUE World Cup 2021 organisers have made available 20,021 free tickets for next year’s tournament to those who work in health, social care and other key sectors critical to the COVID-19 response.
Chief executive Jon Dutton tonight announced an updated schedule for ticket sales and key moments for the remainder of the calendar year as the competition considers the pandemic’s impact on all global sports.
However, ahead of the tournament - which takes place across 21 venues in England including in Leeds, Sheffield, Doncaster, Huddersfield and Hull - the decision to reward some of those who are currently battling so hard to help limit the devastating impact of coronavirus is clearly some much-needed ‘feelgood’ news.
“The team has made the unanimous decision to provide 20,021 free tickets to keyworkers in the UK as our way of saying ‘thank you’,” said Dutton.
“The work, effort, dedication and sheer determination needs to be recognised and hopefully we can provide these local heroes and their families with something to look forward to next year.”
The event, which sees the men’s, women’s and wheelchair competitions staged together for the first time in the tournament’s history, was due to announce plans for ticket sales to begin in the summer.
However, following the outbreak, the organisers and the board have collectively agreed a new timeline, allowing for flexibility around dates due to the uncertainty of global events.
“Other sports, clubs, leagues and events have been acutely impacted by COVID-19,” said Dutton, the tournament no longer set to dominate next summer given it will now compete with the Olympics and football’s European Championships after they were postponed for 12 months.
“And our planning needs to be aligned and proportionate with the global crisis and respectful of more immediate needs.
“We have done various aspects of scenario planning and we believe the current plan is the most suitable at this point.
“However, we know we are required to be flexible and adapt as and when appropriate.”
Firstly, June 10 will see the tournament celebrate 500 days to go until the opening fixture on October 23 2021, at St James’ Park, Newcastle, where the England men’s team will take on Samoa.
The team-bases for the 21 nations involved in the three competitions will be revealed, in addition to a new tournament identity being made public.
Between this point and September, the organisers will detail the schedules for the men’s, women’s and wheelchair tournaments, plus the announcement of ticket tiers and prices.
Due to the current global situation, the organisers have decided not to put a date on these.
In September, the tournament will go on pre-sale to two groups – the rugby league family and corporate partners in group one and host cities and venues, those residents within host cities and on venue databases in group two.
This small window of opportunity will allow these set groups to purchase tickets before anyone else.
With one year to go on October 23, for the first time in the tournament’s history, a public ballot will open.
Anyone will be able to request tickets for as many individual fixtures as they wish until November 27.
December will see fans receive the results of the public ballot and tickets will then go on general sale in early 2021.
Fans are encouraged to sign up via RLWC2021.com to ensure they are the first to receive news on tickets and timings.