Bolton bids for Rugby League 

Rugby league bid
Backing the bid: Adrian Blackburn (Bolton Wanderers Football Club), Sarah Williams (Rugby Football League) and Cllr Ibrahim

Local authorities across Greater Manchester have joined forces in a bid to bring the 2013 Rugby League World Cup to the North West.

The 10 councils that make up the Association of Greater Manchester Authorities (AGMA) have responded to the second round of the Rugby Football League’s (RFL) competition to host the sport’s blue riband competition by putting forward an application that highlights the best the county has to offer.

Interest in hosting the World Cup has been hotting-up since the RFL asked for first-round application bids back in April.

Competition to host the games comes from across the country including Yorkshire, Wales and Bristol and closer to home from Warrington and St Helens.

But with facilities on offer such as Bolton’s Reebok stadium, Wigan’s DW Stadium, the Leigh Sports Village, the City of Salford Stadium and Rochdale’s Spotland Stadium, officials with AGMA are confident it has presented a winning bid.

Bolton has also put forward De Vere Whites Hotel for a team base camp hotel and Bolton Arena as a training facility.

Bolton Council’s Executive Member for Regeneration, Councillor Ismail Ibrahim, said: “We have a long legacy of developing Rugby League in the borough. The Reebok Stadium hosted the 2000 Rugby League World Cup semi-final between England and New Zealand. It was also the venue for Rugby League World Club Challenge club matches. Together with the De Vere Whites Hotel and the Arena, we’ve got a strong case.

“We’ve also got a track record of successfully hosting huge sporting events, such as the Commonwealth Games and the Ironman UK triathlon, which is only weeks away.”

Chairman of AGMA and Leader of Wigan Council, Lord Peter Smith, added: “Greater Manchester has everything the RFL could possibly want to host a successful world cup tournament.

“We are passionate about Rugby League and have the support from grass roots level right up to the very top-flight of the professional game.

“We have a strong bedrock of support but we are also using the opportunity to introduce more people in our area to the game and attract new fans.

“Greater Manchester has a proven track record for hosting prestigious international sporting and cultural events and we have the right facilities to make the tournament one to remember.”

Since the April deadline RFL officials have been touring and inspecting all the prospective locations and sites for the games. Today’s bid submissions are a response to any queries the officials may have had during their tour.

The winning bids are expected to be announced by the Rugby Football League in October.

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