Competition organisers, the Rugby Football League, plan to run a 14 team competition over a 5 week period from October to November 2013. Twelve of the teams are already known and include reigning champions New Zealand, Australia, England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales, Cook Islands, France, Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Samoa and Tonga, with two additional qualifiers to be determined in October.
The Rugby Football League’s ‘Host City’ selection process has asked local authorities to co-ordinate bids, and sought applications for match venues, team training sites and team accommodation bases. Kirklees Council has linked with Batley Bulldogs, Dewsbury Rams, Huddersfield Giants, Cedar Court Hotel, The George Hotel, Gomersal Park Hotel, Kirklees Stadium Development Ltd, Kirklees Active Leisure, Kirklees Sport and Recreation Partnership and the Kirklees Rugby League Service Area to bid across all available aspects.
Batley Bulldogs’ Mount Pleasant and Dewsbury Rams Tetley’s Stadium have both applied to be considered for matches or to be a training base for one of the International teams, whilst the Galpharm Stadium, which hosts the Huddersfield Giants, has also been suggested as a match venue. Leeds Road Sports Complex has asked to be considered as a training base, either in its own right or in support of the Batley or Dewsbury applications, with Kirklees Active Leisure also offering to supplement each of the training base bids with possible use of their leisure facilities. Local Hotels have also come on board, with the Cedar Court Hotel, George Hotel and Gomersal Park Hotel all submitting applications to host teams for the duration of the tournament.
In addition to the offer of facilities, the Kirklees bid highlights the historical links with Rugby League with the George Hotel being the birthplace of the sport in 1895 and home of the Rugby League Heritage Centre, which would be used to draw visitors to the area. Another key feature of the application is the development work undertaken by Batley Bulldogs, Dewsbury Rams and Huddersfield Giants community teams and links to the community game through Kirklees Service Area. The ‘Kirklees Service Area’ is a steering group where all rugby league agencies in the area and other appropriate partners are represented. All of the above would be enhanced by local involvement in the competition.
Kirklees Council was keen to see that the bid promoted the whole of Kirklees, and not be seen to be solely a Huddersfield bid. Cllr Mehboob Khan, Leader of Kirklees Council, said: “Rugby League is a big part of the social and sporting fabric of Kirklees and Huddersfield is the birthplace of the sport. Both Batley and Dewsbury also have great traditions as rugby league towns in the heartland of the game, and the amateur clubs across Kirklees are often at the heart of their local communities.
“I am delighted that so many partners have come on board with quality applications and are prepared to support each others bids. I hope this will result in the whole of Kirklees being able to benefit from a major international event coming to the borough through a big increase in visitors to the area. Being part of the tournament would have a positive impact on the local economy and would help safeguarding local jobs.”
The Rugby Football League will now analyse applications from across the country, before embarking on a series of site visits and fact-finding missions ahead of selecting the successful applicants, with announcements expected at the end of October this year.
For further information please contact Martin Gonzalez, Sports Development Operations Manager, Kirklees Council 01484 234059 firstname.lastname@example.org