The Rugby League World Cup 2021 has now officially been postponed to 2022 by organisers and the UK Government yesterday.
The decision was made after urgent consultations with players, competing nations, the Rugby League Players Association, UK Government, hosts, commercial and broadcast partners.
One of the most significant challenges for the tournament this year, after New Zealand and Australia pulled out, was the non-release of up to 400 players, match officials and staff members from the NRL competition in Australia.
RLWC2021 CEO, Jon Dutton said they had always prioritised player voice and player choice.
“We have established a player working group, met with senior players and in the last few days commissioned a player survey to domestic players in Australia and New Zealand that showed more than 85% wanted to compete at RLWC2021 this year.”
“However, following the disappointing decision of the ARLC and NZRL to withdraw, and the subsequent impact on player availability for other competing nations, it is apparent that delivering the tournament this year would not be feasible,” he added.
Jon thanked everyone who supported and were involved in organising the tournament.
“We appreciate the continued and unequivocal support of the UK Government, as well as the understanding of our competing nations.”
New tournament dates will be released by organizers in due course.
Meanwhile, Tonga head coach Kristian Woolf supported the decision to delay the 2021 World Cup by 12 months, according to Yahoo Sports.
"My personal feeling, after the discussions that I've had with a number of our Tongan players, is that we're best off using this break as an off-season to actually rest and recover from what's been a really tough couple of years," he said.
"By doing that, I think we'll be in a better position to really go and attack the World Cup at the end of next year."