Preston targets grassroots legacy of Rugby League World Cup

Preston is to keep its full-time Rugby League development officer for at least another year after the World Cup was postponed until the autumn.

By Brian Ellis
Tuesday, 15th March 2022, 12:52 pm

The city council, UCLan and Preston North End FC are all being asked to share the additional cost of Ryan Allen's salary until next January to establish a firm footing for the sport in the area up to and beyond the tournament.

As a host city, Preston will provide a training base for the Wales Men's squad for the five-week competition which kicks off on October 15

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Wales will be based in Preston for 2021 Rugby League World Cup

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The Rugby League World Cup at Newcastle's St James's Park where England will kick off the tournament on October 15 against Samoa.

The local authority is set to grant the added contribution saying "approval will demonstrate that the council has a major role to play to raise the profile of sport and physical activity through a partnership approach."

In a statement officers said not to give funding would result in "a reduction in the legacy left by the RLWC tournament."

The Rugby League World Cup 2021 was postponed last year due to the Covid pandemic.

Now it will kick off on October 15 this year with hosts England taking on Samoa in the opening game at St James' Park, Newcastle.

Preston will not stage matches, only training facilities for the Wales squad who open their group games by taking on the Cook Islands at Leigh Sports Village.

The University of Bolton Stadium and the DW Stadium at Wigan are also amongst the match venues.

Preston applied to be a host city in October 2018 and was named as a training base in January 2019. UCLan will provide all the facilities for Wales Men free of charge.

"The city will benefit in a number of different ways from being linked to a major sporting event ... but also in the lead up to and the lasting legacy post event," says a report to the council.

"This will enable the council and its partners to extend, promote and develop the game of Rugby League and the World Cup host status in Preston during the period January 2022 to January 2023 in order to leave a lasting legacy and introducing a new sport at grassroots level within the city.

Ryan Allen, who has experience as a coach with the Warrington Wolves Foundation, was appointed in September 2020 "to increase participation within the sport amongst the city's residents."