Rugby League World Cup to Give 20,021 Tickets to Key Workers

London, Mar 27 (AFP) The organisers of the 2021 Rugby League World Cup in England are to give 20,021 tickets to key workers in recognition of their efforts trying to combat the coronavirus.

Tournament chief executive Jon Dutton made the announcement during an online press conference on Thursday which took place at the same time as a nationwide round of applause for the staff of Britain's National Health Service.

"The team has made the unanimous decision to provide 20,021 free tickets to key workers in the UK as our way of saying thank you," Dutton said.

"The work, effort, dedication and sheer determination needs to be recognised and hopefully we can provide these local heroes and their families with something to look forward to next year."

With the Rugby League World Cup set to be staged in October and November next year, Dutton hopes the tournament will escape the kind of postponements and shutdowns in response to the outbreak of COVID-19 that have affected many other sports across the world, including domestic rugby league competitions.

"We have done various aspects of scenario planning and we believe the current plan is the most suitable at this point," he said.

"However we know we are required to be flexible and adapt as and when appropriate."

Dutton added officials would be looking to see what impact delayed kick-offs in the 2021 seasons of both the National Rugby League, primarily based in Australia, and the Super League, which features mainly English clubs but with teams from France and Canada as well, might have on the World Cup.

Meanwhile, changes to the football calendar could have a knock-on effect in terms of venue ability.

Dutton admitted cancellation of this year's Kangaroos tour -- the first since 2003 -- in October and November, with the visiting Australia side arriving for an Ashes series, would be "a real blow" as it is seen as an important way of generating interest in the World Cup. (AFP)

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