Dutton hopeful World Cup can act as ‘beacon of light’ during pandemic

RLWC 2021 Chief Executive Jon Dutton hopes the upcoming tournament can act as a ‘beacon of light’ for people amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

No rugby league has been played in the UK since March, after the whole country went into lockdown at around the same time.

Excitement has, however, been building ahead of next year’s competition, with announcements this morning about a new brand logo and each team’s training base, and Dutton believes the World Cup provides fans with something to look forward to.

“We’ve got time on our hands to react to the Covid situation, and to work our way through this. But this is a great moment for the tournament and the sport,” he said. “I think as we come out of Covid with a renewed sense of hope and optimism, it gives something for people to look forward to.

“A lot of the work today has been community based, talking about the towns and cities that will be hosting.”

Dutton was also able to go into detail about how the pandemic has changed the picture in terms of scheduling and ticket sales.

He added: “It’s definitely affected plans. We’ve had to change our ticket timeline, we were supposed to start to start selling them in July, and we should have had the schedule out by now. We have moved those things back.

“That’s not a material change, it shouldn’t dramatically impact us. It is part of being an event, we are temporary and for that, we have to be very agile and react to the environment.

“The most important thing is people’s health and wellbeing. Sport and the tournament fall a long way behind that. But I do sense the environment is changing.

“Hopefully, we can be a beacon of light that people can really start to look forward to.”