The 2021 World Cup is hanging in the balance as organiser Jon Dutton took to the media this morning.
Dutton was defiant, but stated that there are currently three options in which the competition can head: to continue and replace Australia and New Zealand, to postpone the tournament or to cancel it completely, with the preference to stage it as normal without the Kiwis or Kangaroos.
NRL clubs are still said to be reluctant to release players for the World Cup, which has led to some reservations on the part of Dutton.
“It’s probably 50/50 but we can’t and don’t know until we listen to the players,” Dutton said.
We’ve worked closely with the RLPA and I can not speak highly enough of Clint Newton and his team. What’s clear is player choice and player voice wasn’t considered and we don’t want to take the same approach.
“A lot of the concerns are well-being rather than safety, being in a bubble environment, away from their families – without players we don’t have a tournament.
“Time is not on our side.
“Within the next 96 hours we need to get in front of as many players as possible to understand their fears.
“We are just over 80 days away from the tournament and we are talking about making a decision in a handful of days.
“I think at some point next week we will have a clear outcome.”