Sheffield Eagles chief: ‘Hosting Rugby League World Cup is massive for us and the city’

Coun Mary Lea, cabinet member for culture, parks and leisure, Gary Clifton, Sheffield Council's major events manager, Dave McCarthy, Sheffield United's operations director and Liam Claffey, Sheffield Eagles general manager, pictured. Picture: Marie Caley
Coun Mary Lea, cabinet member for culture, parks and leisure, Gary Clifton, Sheffield Council's major events manager, Dave McCarthy, Sheffield United's operations director and Liam Claffey, Sheffield Eagles general manager, pictured. Picture: Marie Caley

Sheffield Eagles general manager Liam Claffey heralded the news that Sheffield will be a host city for the rugby league World Cup in 2021 as a tremendous opportunity for the club.

Mr Claffey confirmed that the Olympic Legacy Park could also host a team for training purposes, as the club looks to feed off some of the expected feel-good factor surrounding the competition to boost the profile of the Eagles.

Liam Claffey, Sheffield Eagles' general manager. Picture: Marie Caley.

Liam Claffey, Sheffield Eagles' general manager. Picture: Marie Caley.

He said: “It is massive for the city and it is massive for Sheffield Eagles. We see this potentially as the springboard for the sport to develop in Sheffield.

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“There are logistics to be decided on this but we are hopeful to be providing a training base here, so that means we’ll have a country based here for the men’s competition, and possibly several of the wheelchair sides based here as well.”

The competition’s organisers confirmed Sheffield United’s Bramall Lane will host an England game, while the English Institute of Sport will host the group games and semi-finals of the wheelchair tournament.

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Mr Claffey added: “To have teams based here, who could potentially go out and spend some time working with our grassroots community clubs is fantastic.

"Any young supporter who may have an interest in watching rugby league can watch the very best teams play in 2021. To watch England at Bramall Lane in what we hope will be a sell-out crowd, may just inspire them to pick up the ball and play.”

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The Rugby League World Cup will run from October 23 until November 27, 2021 – just four months after Sheffield has also hosted football’s Women’s European Championships at Bramall Lane.

Organisers estimate the competition will be viewed by up to 150 million people in 100 countries.