Organisers of the 2021 World Cup have announced they will extend the women’s competition to allow for longer turnaround time between fixtures.
The original schedule would have seen most of the women have just three days of recovery between games, however that has now been extended to four, with a view of extending it further to five for the next World Cup.
The decision comes after organisers had intense discussions with International Rugby League (IRL), Rugby League Players Association (RLPA), national federations and individual athletes about issues surrounding player welfare.
The tournament will now start at Headingley Stadium on Tuesday 9 November 2021, with Anfield still hosting the marquee women’s and men’s double header on Saturday 13 November.
RLWC2021 Chief Executive Jon Dutton said: “We have listened to and consulted every interested party over the last few months and we feel this is the best outcome for everyone, particularly the welfare of the athletes. It is important that we recognise the evolution of the women’s game and are at the forefront of leading the way on player welfare. We have received outstanding cooperation from our hosts, IRL, RLPA and nations and most importantly player representatives.”
Chief Executive of IRL Nigel Wood added: “This is a further example of what is being achieved by international rugby league working together collaboratively. We received feedback around the original programme and with a collective will on all sides, we have managed to provide a timetable that will ensure that the women’s tournament is an even more compelling spectacle.”