Nigel Huddleston – 2022 Statement on Rugby League World Cup 2021 Cost

The statement made by Nigel Huddleston, the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, in the House of Commons on 26 May 2022.

I wish to inform the House that, on 26 May 2022, the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport laid a departmental minute recording the Government’s commitment to underwrite the rugby league world cup (rescheduled from 2021 to 15 October-9 November 2022).

As set out in the minute, this underwrite would cover up to £10 million, with £4 million ringfenced for increased costs due to covid-19, and £6 million ringfenced for lost ticketing income due to covid-19. The minute also sets out a number of scenarios in which the underwrite can be called upon. The national governing body, the Rugby Football League will be responsible for any other additional costs that exceed the event budget.

When bidding to secure this event in 2016, DCMS agreed to fund £15 million towards the tournament and a further £10 million towards legacy projects to help grow the game at grassroots level. A further £5.6 million was granted from the sport survival package when the tournament had to be postponed due to the pandemic. This underwrite will ensure that we can look forward to hosting a world cup as planned. It will also support delivery of an event that will drive economic growth in the region and deliver significant benefits against the Government’s sporting and wider ambitions, including the levelling-up agenda.

The Government underwrite, therefore, creates a contingent liability for the Department in relation to this event of up to £10 million.

A copy of the departmental minute will be placed in the Libraries of both Houses.