Australia and New Zealand announced, Thursday, July 22, that they will not participate in the 2021 Rugby League World Cup to be held in England due to concerns. For the health and safety of the players. linked to the Covid-19 pandemic.
In a joint statement, the country’s top two rugby union leagues called on organizers to postpone the competition, which is still scheduled from October 23 to November 27 in England, until next year.
Australia was scheduled to face defending champion Fiji in Hull (east) on the first day of the competition, and New Zealand would play Lebanon in Warrington (west) the next day.
The organizers disappointed
Australia and New Zealand said they made the decision taking into account the risks of pollution in England, the worsening pandemic and the time players would spend away from home to meet health measures before the start of competition.
The organizers, who confirmed last week that the World Cup would take place on schedule, described the decision of the two federations a “disappointing” She added that she could have ‘Important consequences of rugby union’.
RLWC2021 note the disappointing statement from ARLC and NZRL that may have widespread implications in… https://t.co/bHl2WO66Qj
“RLWC2021 was informed on very short notice and will continue discussions with all participants to agree on the best way forward. A press release will be published in due course”, they explained.
The president of the English Football Association
The outcry was even stronger for Simon Johnson, the head of the English rugby union, who described the decision of the New Zealanders and Australians as‘selfish, stubborn and cowardly’.
“I could agree with them if I had not known that the Australian athletes were, now, in Tokyo for the Olympics, that the New Zealand cricketers had played in England this summer and that the Australian Rugby Union team would be coming for a series of matches in October.”Simon Johnson insisted.
🗣️ “I can understand why the players are so upset,” RFL Chairman Simon Johnson described A… https://t.co/UnEp1b7hSL
“Not participating in the World Cup was not an easy decision but we must put the interests of our players and managers first, and protecting them is essential.Peter Flandis, president of the Australian Federation, argued. In the current context, the risks to the safety, health and well-being of our players and officials who will have to leave Australia for this year’s tournament are insurmountable.”
For his part, Greg Peters, his New Zealand counterpart, confirmed that this decision to withdraw came in the interest of the players and officials. “The tournament organizers moved heaven and earth to make this happen, so it wasn’t an easy decision, but the situation on the pandemic front in the UK is showing no signs of stopping.” management there.”Mr. Peters said.
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