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Page last updated at 14:08 GMT, Saturday, 1 August 2009 15:08 UK

World Cup set for 12-team format

New Zealand with the World Cup
New Zealand beat hosts Australia 34-20 to win the World Cup in 2008

The 2013 Rugby League World Cup, to be staged in Britain, is set to be contested by 12 teams, an increase on last year's 10-team event in Australia.

The Rugby Football League believes a bigger tournament will improve the potential for a profitable event.

"The plan has been based on 12 teams, so it is a racing certainty there'll be 12," said RFL chairman Richard Lewis.

In addition, the tournament will be based primarily in rugby league heartlands to maximise attendances.

The tournament will be the first Rugby League World Cup to be held in the UK since 2000, which was hampered by bad weather, attracted poor attendances and left the RFL in debt.

But last autumn's event in Australia was a success, attracting combined crowds of 290,000 and a global television audience of 19.2m, making it the most widely broadcast event in the sport's history.

"We know we can stage a very successful World Cup, we put together what we believe was a very compelling argument," said Lewis.


"A lot of preparation has gone into it and we believe the proposition is extremely robust."

In 2000, World Cup organisers attempted to broaden the appeal of rugby league to union heartlands, staging games in places such as Gloucester and south Wales but the experiment failed.

"Unashamedly we will be using the heartland and we will be using our clubs," said Lewis.

"We want to make sure we give the rugby league fans week-in, week-out the chance to buy tickets at competitive rates.

"We will try as much as possible to have full stadiums, that is an important part of how the World Cup looks."

Stadia which are regularly used to host rugby league for special events such as Wembley, the Millennium Stadium, Murrayfield and Old Trafford will be considered as venues, while the Olympic Stadium is another possibility.

There is also a chance of some games being played in France.

Additionally, the RFL is looking into the possibility of staging double-headers at some venues to increase crowd interest.

Lewis also anticipates plenty of interest from television companies keen to screen the event.

"I think it will be very competitive for the TV companies," he said. "A short, sharp competition like the World Cup is very attractive to terrestrial TV."

Plans will be made over the next 12 months before an official launch some time in 2010 with a likely staging date of October and November in 2013.

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see also
UK to host Rugby League World Cup
28 Jul 09 |  Rugby League
Wales targets RL World Cup games
28 Jul 09 |  Rugby League
Australia 20-34 New Zealand
22 Nov 08 |  Rugby League
When Great Britain won the World Cup
22 Oct 08 |  Rugby League
Rugby League World Cup history
21 Oct 08 |  Rugby League
World Cup set for 10-team format
25 Nov 05 |  International
Curtain falls on World Cup
25 Nov 00 |  World Cup 2000
Sport's unlucky thirteen
20 Nov 00 |  World Cup 2000
Rugby league's rollercoaster ride
24 Nov 00 |  World Cup 2000

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