Rugby League World Cup achieves amazing social impact

A real impact was made ahead of the Rugby League World Cup through the trail-blazing social impact programme.  

The strength of RLWC2021’s Social Impact Programme has been in delivering activities that have been about much more than just playing rugby league and growing participation in the sport.   

Working in partnership with organisations like Movember, Community Integrated Care and UNICEF UK has been crucial in enabling RLWC2021 to reach a far wider and diverse audience than otherwise would have been possible and thereby delivering maximum returns from the Social Impact Programme.  

The tournament’s CreatedBy grant funding has been the catalyst for projects to secure additional funding, with an overall investment across all projects of more than £25 million, delivered in partnership with the RFL. This has been transformational for rugby league and community facilities across the country with a particular focus on making the sport more accessible for disabled users and women and girls. 

The volunteers programme was also a huge success with The Power Squad dedicating 18,000 hours of their time during the tournament alone, and playing a vital role in all areas of delivery, from tournament guest services, match and media operations and accreditation. 

Rugby League World Cup 2021 Chief Executive, Jon Dutton, said:

“Our ambition for Rugby League World Cup 2021 was to make the tournament the biggest, best and most inclusive World Cup in the sport’s 127-year history, and I think we’ve achieved that and more.  

“We overcame huge obstacles to make it happen, including the pandemic and the subsequent postponement but these numbers clearly show that the tournament was worth waiting for. Nearly half a million people came through the turnstiles in the middle of a cost-of-living crisis, with millions more tuning in to watch the matches on television or online.  

“The appetite for all three tournaments has been extraordinary, with record breaking attendances across men’s, women’s and wheelchair events. I hope we have demonstrated the appetite for all three disciplines and laid a platform for international rugby league to build on in the future with France 2025 and beyond. 

“The tournament was always about more than delivering 61 matches on the pitch. It was about using the platform provided by the World Cup to make a positive difference within communities and our trailblazing Social Impact programme achieved just that. Working with brilliant partners like UNICEF and Movember took our sport to new audiences while our CreatedBy programme has enabled to us to develop facilities across the country and ensure that anyone who wants to get involved in our fantastic sport has the opportunity to do so. 

“We have also been able to attract new commercial partners to the sport with global businesses such as Cazoo and Vodafone playing a key role in the success of the tournament. Being able to attract significant commercial investment will be vital to the future success of our sport.” 

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