Australia and New Zealand announced Thursday (July 22) that they will not participate in the 2021 Rugby League World Cup in England due to concerns. For the health and safety of the players. linked to the Covid-19 pandemic.
In a joint statement, the first rugby union association called on organizers to postpone this competition, which is still scheduled from October 23 to November 27 in England, until next year.
Australia, the defending champions, were scheduled to face Fiji in Hull (east) on the first day of the competition, while New Zealand play Lebanon in Warrington (west) the next day.
The organizers disappointed
Australia and New Zealand made it clear that they made this decision taking into account the pollution risks that exist in England, the worsening pandemic and the time players must spend away from home to meet health measures before the start of competition.
The organizers, who confirmed last week that the World Cup would take place on schedule, described the decision of the two federations a “disappointing” She added that she could have ‘Important consequences of rugby union’.
RLWC2021 note the disappointing statement from ARLC and NZRL that may have widespread implications in… https://t.co/bHl2WO66Qj
« No RLWC2021 [Rugby League World Cup 2021, la ligue mondiale de rugby à XIII] It was summarized very quickly, and will continue discussions with all participants to agree on the best way forward. A press release will be published in due course.”, also identify the organizers.
The president of the English Football Association
The outrage was even stronger for Simon Johnson, the head of the English rugby union, who described the decision of the New Zealanders and Australians as‘selfish, stubborn and cowardly’.
‘I could agree with them if I didn’t know that Australian athletes are, at the moment, in Tokyo for the Olympics, that New Zealand cricketers have played in England this summer, and that ‘the Australian Rugby Union team is coming for a series of matches in October’Simon Johnson insisted.
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“Not taking the World Cup was not an easy decision, but we have to put the interests of our players and managers first. Protecting them is essential.For his part, argued Peter Flandis, president of the Australian Federation. In the current context, the risks to the safety, health and well-being of our players and managers who will have to leave Australia for this year’s tournament are insurmountable. “
For his part, Greg Peters, his New Zealand counterpart, Mr. Flandis, confirmed that this decision to withdraw was in the interest of the players and officials. “The tournament organizers have moved Heaven and Earth to make this happen, so it was not an easy decision. But the situation on the pandemic front in the UK is showing no signs of improvement and it is very dangerous to send players and management there”Mr. Peters said.
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