ONE of the leading lights in a bid to bring rugby league world cup games to Doncaster has told of his anger after the borough’s bid was rejected.
Former New Zealand international Carl Hall, who now jointly owns the borough’s rugby league team, had hoped to bring games in the 2013 tournament to the Keepmoat Stadium, and had the backing of Mayor Peter Davies.
But the bid was turned down, with the Doncaster bid team claiming the Rugby Football League told them the decision was for “geographical reasons.” The RFL deny this.
Mr Hall said: “We’ve put a lot of hard work into this and I think it is a disgrace Doncaster has not got anything. Had they awarded something to Sheffield I may have understood more, but South Yorkshire has missed out altogether.
“They said the reason is geographical, but both Hull clubs have been given matches at the grounds. South Yorkshire has got nothing, and it feels like a kick in the teeth.
“Doncaster has staged two rugby league international games, and we got over 10,000 spectators for each. It doesn’t feel like this is good for rugby league development.”
Julie Nichol, stadium manager said: “We are extremely disappointed by the outcome of our bid to be a host town for the Rugby League World Cup 2013.
“Working in partnership with Doncaster Council and the Doncaster Dons, the Stadium Management Company put forward a strong bid showing why we believe that Doncaster is ideally placed to be a host town. It appears that the decision was based on location rather than the quality of sites.”
But RFL spokesman John Ledger denied the decision was made on geographic factors. He said: “ Unfortunately for Doncaster, some of the bids from other areas were stronger. Doncaster had put together a strong bid, that was not without its merits, but there were others, which have been successful which were stronger.”
The successful host towns and cities are across England, Wales, Ireland and France. They include Bristol, Halifax, Whitehaven, Hull, Huddersfield, Leeds, Rochdale, Salford Stadium, St Helens, Warrington, Wigan, Wrexham, Limerick, Neath, Avignon and Perpignan.
n ‘Slap in face:’ P37