Australia and New Zealand person officially withdrawn from participating successful this year's Rugby League World Cup owed to subordinate information concerns.
The tourney is acceptable to beryllium held successful the UK betwixt 23 October and 27 November, but some Australian Rugby League (ARL) and New Zealand Rugby League (NZRL) person requested for it to beryllium postponed until 2022 to minimise the hazard of players contracting COVID-19.
The withdrawal of the 2 heavyweight countries is simply a monolithic stroke to the tournament, with Australia the reigning satellite champions arsenic good arsenic being the astir palmy state successful Rugby League World Cup past with 11 titles. The past squad extracurricular of Australia and New Zealand to triumph the World Cup was Great Britain successful 1972.
Amid the worsening COVID-19 situation successful Australia which presently sees 3 states locked down, some Australia and New Zealand agreed that the risks associated with players and officials travelling to the UK are excessively great.
The determination promoted an aggravated effect from the seat of the Rugby Football League, Simon Johnson, who lashed it arsenic "selfish, parochial and cowardly."
Nigel Huddleston, the British curate for Tourism, Sport and Commonwealth Games, besides voiced his displeasure.
"Extremely astonishing and disappointing determination from the ARLC and NZRL," Huddleston said.
"We've met each requests made and shown that elite sports players tin beryllium kept safe. We volition enactment with the RLWC squad to question clarity connected what caller assurances were requested, if any, earlier this property merchandise was issued unexpectedly today. Their determination risks depriving the satellite – including Australian and New Zealand rugby (league) fans – of a superb spectacle of sport."
Earlier connected Thursday, ARL Commission president Peter V'landys explained the withdrawal successful a associated connection with the NZRL.
"Not participating successful this year's World Cup is not a determination the Commission has taken lightly, but we indispensable enactment the champion interests of our players and officials first. Protecting them is our implicit priority."
"In the existent environment, the risks to the safety, wellness and wellbeing of the players and officials travelling from Australia to enactment successful the tourney this twelvemonth are insurmountable.
"The bulk of NRL players are presently surviving distant from location nether hard biosecurity protocols. They would past beryllium required to stay nether protocols and distant from location for the duration of the tourney earlier again quarantining connected instrumentality to Australia. This is excessively overmuch to inquire our players and officials to do.
"We person again requested the IRL and Rugby League World Cup see postponing the lawsuit until 2022 to alteration each players to participate."
"The information and wellbeing of our radical is the main priority, and unfortunately, that cannot beryllium guaranteed to our satisfaction," NZRL CEO Greg Peters added.
"There are stark differences betwixt however the pandemic is being managed successful the UK compared to Australasia and caller developments person highlighted however rapidly things tin change.
"The tourney organisers person moved eden and world to marque this work, truthful it is not an casual decision, but the Covid-19 concern successful the UK shows nary motion of improving, and it's simply excessively unsafe to nonstop teams and unit over.
"We recognize however disappointing this is for fans and those involved; nevertheless subordinate and unit information remains paramount."