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2021 Rugby League World Cup: Female and wheelchair players to receive same fees as male counterparts for first time

Ross Heppenstall
Australia are the current men's world champions, winning the 2017 World Cup - AAPIMAGE

Female and wheelchair international rugby league players will receive the same participation fees as their male counterparts at the 2021 Rugby League World Cup, which is being held in England.  It will be the first time in the tournament’s history that the participation fees are equal across all three competitions.

Prize money will also be awarded to women’s and wheelchair nations for the first time, while participation fees for men’s nations will increase by 125 per cent compared to 2017.

RLWC 2021 chief executive, Jon Dutton, said: “Our board have worked hard with colleagues at the IRL and the Rugby League Players Association (RLPA) to secure this positive and ground-breaking decision and we’re delighted with the outcome.

“One of our core values as a tournament is inclusivity and we believe that our revised agreements showcase our determination to ensure we celebrate this in 2021.”

International Rugby League chief executive, Nigel Wood, added: “Once again international rugby league has shown itself to be progressive and relentless in its aspiration to embrace true inclusivity.

“These announcements are a tribute to the journey the women’s and wheelchair games have made over the past decade.

“Both of these disciplines of our sport have the chance to establish rugby league as market leaders in their particular fields.”

Meanwhile, Bradford Bulls face more uncertainty after Chris Brereton, the head of the consortium bidding to take control of the cash-strapped Championship club, withdrew from the group.

Bradford Bulls have racked up debts of over £500,000 Credit: GETTY IMAGES

Former Wakefield Trinity co-owner Brereton had spoken of his desire to seize ownership of the Bulls from New Zealander Andrew Chalmers.

But having recently admitted the club's debts may prevent him from pressing ahead with his takeover bid, Brereton today announced he has left the group.

It is understood the Bulls have racked up significant debts of over £500,000 to a wide range of creditors and, although Brereton has walked away, the consortium will press ahead with their takeover bid and will hold forums with supporters on Tuesday and Wednesday night. 

A statement from the group following Brereton's exit said: “Although Chris stepping down is disappointing, it won’t affect the resolve of the remaining group and we are hopeful of some positive news at the first fans forum tomorrow night.”