Preston council has launched a bid for North End’s Deepdale stadium to host what is being billed as rugby league’s biggest ever event – the 2021 Rugby League World Cup.
The city is one of 40 across the UK to have made a formal bid to host games during the showpiece tournament.
In 2013 UCLan’s Sports Arena was the training base for the Irish national team but Preston is now looking to go one step further and host live international games.
Lancashire Evening Post journalist Tom Earnshaw said that the national game would help to create an atmosphere that isn’t replicated in Super League
“Like the football world cup, you saw on the streets of Preston and the videos on social media that it will be something that everyone can join in with.”
Earnshaw went on to talk about the impact of being a host city and how it could generate a new level of excitement.
“If we were to host the Samoans, the Kiwis or the Aussies, it would be pretty big news in terms of these rugby league world stars coming over, UCLan would again be very heavily involved as would Deepdale.”
Preston face rival bids from local towns in Bolton, Wigan, Leigh and St Helens as well as major venues such as Liverpool’s Anfield Stadium, Newcastle’s St. James’ Park and Manchester’s Old Trafford and Etihad Stadiums.
If Preston’s bid was to be successful the local economy could be boosted by between £2.7 and £4.5 million.
It has been rumoured that the current World Champions, Australia, have requested to use Preston as their host city for the whole of the tournament.
The women’s and physical disability competitions are taking place at the same time and Preston could host one of their major events.
The venue announcement is expected during next years RLIF conference.