Australia and New Zealand pull the pin out of the World Cup competition

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If the Rugby League World Cup goes ahead this year, the two most successful countries in recent history will be without the announcement that the Australian Rugby League Commission and the New Zealand Rugby League will not send teams to the tournament.

FULL STATEMENT BY THE ARLC AND NZRL

The Australian Rugby League Commission (ARLC) and New Zealand Rugby League (NZRL) today informed the organizers of the International Rugby League (IRL) and Rugby League World Cup (RLWC) that Australia and New Zealand will not be participating in a 2021 World Cup due to player welfare and safety issues.

The ARLC and NZRL have again requested that the RLWC2021 be postponed to 2022 in order to minimize the risk of players contracting COVID-19 and ensure the best outcome for the player’s well-being.

The decision to withdraw from the RLWC2021 comes after considering the risk of COVID-19 infection in the UK, the deteriorating environment in Australia and the time a majority of NRL Premiership players will spend away from home under strict biosafety conditions prior to the World Cup.

The ARLC and NZRL have decided that in the current environment, the risks to athletes and officials traveling to the UK this year to participate in the tournament are too great, and it cannot approve Australia and New Zealand to participate in the RLWC in 2021.

ARLC chairman Peter V’landys AM said the well-being and safety of players should come first.

“Not taking part in this year’s World Cup is not a decision the Commission has taken lightly, but we must put the interests of our players and officials first. Protecting them is our absolute priority,” he said.

“In the current environment, the risks to the safety, health and welfare of the players and officials traveling from Australia this year to participate in the tournament are insurmountable. The majority of NRL players are currently living from home under difficult biosecurity protocols They would then have to remain under protocol and away from home for the duration of the tournament before being quarantined again on return to Australia This is asking too much of our players and officials

“We have again requested that the IRL and Rugby League World Cup consider postponing the event until 2022 to allow all players to participate.”

NZRL CEO Greg Peters said the decision to withdraw was in the best interests of players and officials.

“The safety and well-being of our people is a top priority and unfortunately cannot be guaranteed to our satisfaction,” he said.

“There are big differences between how the pandemic is being managed in the UK compared to Australia and recent developments have shown how quickly things can change.

“The tournament organizers have moved heaven and earth to make this work so it’s not an easy decision, but the Covid-19 situation in the UK shows no signs of improving and it’s just too unsafe to send teams and staff.

“We understand how disappointing this is for fans and stakeholders; however, the safety of players and staff remains paramount.”

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