Wigan Borough has passed the first stage in a major bid to play host to the Rugby League World Cup when the tournament hits England in 2021.
Wigan Council’s leader Councillor David Molyneux unveiled the bid in July stating the pedigree of the borough for rugby league is “unrivalled across the world”.
The borough has put forward its two high quality stadiums, Leigh Sports Village and the DW Stadium, as venues for matches.
The global showpiece in three years’ time will be the biggest competition ever for the sport.
Cities and towns across the country have put themselves forward to host the international matches across the country.
Wigan is bidding to host the men’s tournament which could mean as many as four matches being played in the borough.
Hosting the games will also open up significant legacy opportunities for the borough’s communities
The bid process has now entered a “candidate stage” where the bid team from the Rugby World Cup will look more closely at the venues and the overall bid.
This stage will take place over the autumn and a final decision and announcement on the successful hosts for the competition will be made early next year.
Councillor Molyneux said: “It is great news that we have passed the first stage of the bidding process.
“Being involved in the bid it is clear there is a lot of tough competition from many parts of the UK.
“It is vital we put as strong a bid in as possible in the next stage.
“We have two great stadiums and our passion, expertise and history in the game is unrivalled across the world.
“Not only will hosting the World Cup games be fantastic occasions for our residents to be involved in, they will also attract visitors from across the country and the world to Wigan and will be a big boost for our local economy.
“The World Cup will also offer opportunities for significant legacy investment for our communities.”
The bid is being backed by Wigan Warriors, Leigh Centurions, Leigh Sports Village and Inspiring healthy lifestyles and community rugby league clubs and community groups will be involved in both supporting the bid and, if successful, the event itself.
Wigan is one of a number of councils across Greater Manchester submitting a bid to host matches and be part of the spectacle.
A social media campaign to encourage people to back the bid has been launched with people urged to show their support using the hashtag #rlwc2021wigan