Following consultation with the competing nations and Rugby League World Cup 2021 (RLWC2021) organisers, the Board of International Rugby League (IRL) has decided to postpone the Festival of World Cups (FOWC) which was scheduled to be held in England in June and July 2021. The decision is based upon the uncertainty faced by nations trying to raise funds and organise their participation against the backdrop of the current pandemic.

The FOWC was scheduled to include men’s student and defence forces competitions and a women’s emerging nations tournament.

Nigel Wood, chief executive officer of IRL commented on the announcement saying;

It is unfortunate but understandable that member nations are unable to fully commit to these competitions at this stage. There is such a degree of uncertainty in the selection of squads and their fund-raising efforts that it makes sense to move the events to a time when there will be greater clarity.

Consultation with members and the hosts will begin immediately to establish the best alternative arrangement.

Jon Dutton, chief executive, Rugby League World Cup 2021 said:

Clearly we are disappointed that the Festival of World Cups will not be able to go ahead as planned in 2021. We look forward to future plans being made that will support these tournaments to take place and enable the on-going development of international Rugby League.

As the Rugby League World Cup 2021 we are still committed to delivering the Masters International event, in Newcastle, and Physical Disability Rugby League event, in Warrington, in October 2021 as part of our wider programme.