Australia and NZ pull out of World Cup

Australia and New Zealand have pulled out of the Rugby League World Cup as a result of of “player welfare and safety concerns” associated to Covid-19.

The males’s, ladies’s and wheelchair occasions are scheduled to happen in England this autumn.

The Australian Rugby League Commission (ARLC) and New Zealand Rugby League (NZRL) have requested organisers if it may be rescheduled for 2022.

NZRL chief Greg Peters stated it was “simply too unsafe” to participate.

“The safety and wellbeing of our people is the main priority, and unfortunately, that cannot be guaranteed to our satisfaction.

“There are stark variations between how the pandemic is being managed within the UK in comparison with Australasia, and current developments have highlighted how shortly issues can change.

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

ARLC chairman Peter V’landys added: “Not participating in this year’s World Cup is not a decision the commission has taken lightly, but we must put the best interests of our players and officials first. Protecting them is our absolute priority.

“In the present surroundings, the dangers to the security, well being and wellbeing of the gamers and officers travelling from Australia to take part within the event this 12 months are insurmountable.”

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