Council leader blasts Wigan snub for Rugby League World Cup venues
The leader of Wigan Council has strongly criticised sporting authorities after the town was not selected as a host venue for the 2021 Rugby League World Cup.
A stunned Coun David Molyneux said he was "extremely disappointed" Wigan's DW Stadium had not been chosen for the tournament and he found the decision inexplicable.
The omission is baffling due to Wigan's pedigree and fame in the sport, he said.
The borough will not totally miss out on the global celebration of the 13-man code, though, as the Leigh Sports Village (LSV) will host three matches.
Coun Molyneux said: “I am extremely disappointed and I can’t understand why Wigan, the home to one of the most famous teams in the world, was not given any games to host throughout the tournament.
“I’m sure this feeling is shared among fellow Wigan residents, however, we will of course support Leigh’s fantastic achievement proudly and look forward to the games.”
Wigan MP Lisa Nandy said on Twitter she was equally dumbfounded by Wigan being overlooked.
She said: "Shocked and deeply disappointed that Wigan’s bid to host the Rugby League World Cup in 2021 has been snubbed. The bid was strongly backed by Wigan Council and the public.
"As a leader in the sport and home to one of the best teams in the world, it’s an inexplicable decision."
Despite Wigan's baffling omission from the list of 21 stadiums in 18 towns and cities Coun Molyneux said he was "thrilled" Leigh had been picked once again for international games.
He said: "Not only will this be a fantastic occasions for our residents to be involved with, but the matches will also attract visitors from across the country and the world to our borough and will prove a big boost for our local economy.
“We will make sure the grassroots of the sport benefits from the legacy of the tournament and we will ensure as many people as possible get to be a part of the tournament celebrations in 2021."
The owners of the stadium, which hosted Tonga's clash with the Cook Islands the last time the RL World Cup was played in this country, expressed their elation.
Simon Toon, chief executive of the LSV said: “This is absolutely fantastic news for us and we are really proud our stadium has been recognised and chosen for multiple games.
“We can’t wait to host thousands of international visitors and show them what Leigh has to offer.
“Our stadium, facilities and our passion for the game will certainly help to deliver a successful Rugby League World Cup and we’re sure all who come to LSV will have a great experience.”
Leigh’s successful bid was submitted in July 2018 in collaboration with the other local authorities within Greater Manchester to highlight all the city region has to offer and to showcase how it can work together.
The bids were considered individually and Bolton and Trafford were also announced as hosts, with the home of Manchester United staging the men's and women's finals in a double-header.
More than one million people are expected to attend the games over the five-week tournament, which will be held in October and November 2021.
The tournament will decide the champions in the men’s, women’s and wheelchair games.
For more information visit: www.marketingmanchester.com/rugbyleagueworldcup