22 Jul 2021
RLWC2021: RFL Chairman Simon Johnson responds to Australia and New Zealand decision
RFL Chairman Simon Johnson has given his response to today’s decision by Australia and New Zealand to withdraw their Men’s, Women’s and Wheelchair teams from the tournament.
“As the sport’s national governing body, and a member of International Rugby League, and of course the hosts for RLWC2021, we are bitterly disappointed by the announcement from Australia and New Zealand.
“RLWC2021 organisers have bent over backwards, offering considerable assurances and resources to guarantee player welfare and safety.
“The UK has shown the ability to host major sporting events safely on a number of occasions already this year – with athletes from Australia and New Zealand involved, and enjoying considerable success, whether at Wimbledon or in the ICC’s World Test Championship.
“We believe it is the players of Australia and New Zealand – Men’s, Women’s and Wheelchair – who are most let down by the decision. World Cups are special in any sport – ours goes back to 1954, but this is to be the most inclusive ever.
“When their counterparts from many other sports are travelling the world to play, I can see why a number of players and coaches are expressing their disappointment at being denied the same opportunities.”