Doncaster a step closure to World Cup glory as organisers declare us officials candidates

Chris Dungworth (Business Doncaster), Lorna Reeve (visit Doncaster ), Carl Hall (Doncaster RLFC), Dean Wiffen (Doncaster council), Ben Lewis (keepmoat stadium) with the Rugby League World Cup bid. PIcture: Dean Atkins
Chris Dungworth (Business Doncaster), Lorna Reeve (visit Doncaster ), Carl Hall (Doncaster RLFC), Dean Wiffen (Doncaster council), Ben Lewis (keepmoat stadium) with the Rugby League World Cup bid. PIcture: Dean Atkins

We're over the first hurdle in our campaign to host the 2021 Rugby League World Cup.

Organisers of the tournament have confirmed that Doncaster has passed the first stage of the selection process - meaning it is now an official candidate in the battle to stage the matches.

The Free Press is campaigning in support of the bid, which now proceeds to the candidate stage of the process.

The bid, which was submitted on July 31, was for Doncaster to host three Rugby League World Cup 2021 games at the Keepmoat Stadium during the tournament in October 2021. It also seeks to host teams in Doncaster during the tournament, using hotels and training facilities available in the town.

The Free Press has run a series of stories to highlight the strengths of the borough's bid, and to show how much support there is withing the community for the event.

Editor Nancy Fielder said: "It is great news that Doncaster has passed its first test and I'm delighted that we are a step closer to hosting a major sporting event, and the bid team deserve great credit for what they have done so far.

"But there is still much to be done and we at the Free Press will continue to campaign to bring the tournament here in 2021."

Carl Hall, chief executive of Doncaster Rugby League Club said: "We’re delighted with the news we’ve received today to confirm we’re through to the next stage of the process.

"Our bid team including Club Doncaster, Doncaster Council, Business Doncaster and Visit Doncaster worked together to ensure we submitted a comprehensive bid and marketing campaign and we’re grateful that it’s been recognised by the Rugby League World Cup 2021 team."

The candidate stage runs from until October 12, and during this time, rugby league officials will make site visits to the borough's facilities and write an assessment report review.

Decisions are expected to be made in January 2019.

In total, 16 teams will play 31 matches during the tournament. There will also be 14 venues hosting games, and the minimum capacity for a stadium will be 12,000. The Keepmoat Stadium, where any games would be played in Doncaster, seats 15,000 spectators.

The men's Rugby League World Cup, the Women’s Rugby League World Cup, and Wheelchair Rugby League World Cup will all be played at the same time.