|Rugby’s Coming Home? – Borough partnership bids to host World Cup
Wigan Borough’s Rugby World Cup Bid team.
The Rugby League World Cup ‘belongs’ in Wigan Borough.
That’s the message from sports stars, community leaders, the business community and fans of the game as Wigan Borough formally submits its bid to host the 2013 tournament.
A top-flight team from Wigan Council, Wigan Leisure and Culture Trust, Ashton Leigh and Wigan PCT; Leigh Sports Village; home-town heroes Wigan Warriors and the Leigh Centurions and the borough’s network of amateur clubs has been working hard to bring League’s most prestigious event to the game’s spiritual home.
The bid has captured the imagination of rugby stars from across the generations from Leigh legend Tommy Sale right through to upcoming Wigan hero Sam Tomkins.
Giving his support to the bid, former Wigan, England and Great Britain Rugby League star and Sky Sports Commentator Phil Clarke, says: “The Rugby League World Cup offers a real opportunity to spread the game of Rugby League across the whole of Greater Manchester and although it has been played for over 100 years in the region, I believe that this event will help raise the profile of the sport and demonstrate the skills and values the game has to offer.”
Wigan Borough faces competition to host the event from Rugby League heartland across the Pennines and from Wrexham in North Wales, as well as bids nearer to home from Warrington, Widnes and St Helens.
But the borough partnership is confident that the bid from Wigan will be a world-beater.
Wigan Council and PCT Chief Executive Joyce Redfearn says: “Few places can measure sporting success in the same way that our borough can and for many Rugby League is the lifeblood of our community. Not only are we steeped in the history and culture of the game but our central location, close to the major motorways and two international airports makes Wigan Borough the perfect location for this event. We also have the support of the real grass-roots in the shape of the borough’s many amateur rugby league clubs, which really proves we are a bedrock of the game.
“The partnership shows how effective we are at working together. It really builds on the success we have had in coming together as one team for the borough and it has put together a fantastic bid.
“We wish our rival bidders well but the strength of our bid makes us believe that Wigan Borough will be a World Cup winner!”
Whilst Simon Toon, chief executive of Leigh Sports Village, adds that the borough has the right facilities to make the World Cup one to remember.
“In both halves of the borough we have world-class stadiums for a world-class event. The DW Stadium needs no introduction and Leigh Sports Village has proved its worth by hosting a number of high-profile international sports events and we’re relishing the change to shine with this fantastic opportunity to show what we can do.”
Wigan Borough’s bid will formally submit the bid before the closing date of Friday April 15. Officials from the Rugby Football League will scrutinise all the entries before reaching a decision. The announcement is likely to be made in the autumn.
Wigan Warrior’s star and Super League Young Player of the Year Sam Tomkins, sums up the mood: “Come on Wigan Borough!” he says.
“Sport is a fantastic way of bringing people together and this event really would be a massive boost to both the borough’s community spirit and the local economy as well. It’s going to brilliant to see this event come home and we’re all backing the bid!”
While Centurions’ coach Ian Millward adds: “What we need now is for rugby fans from all over the borough to get behind us and show their support. The slogan for the 2013 tournament is ‘Belong’ and we want everyone to say it belongs in Wigan Borough.”
You can pledge your support for Wigan Borough’s bid to host the Rugby League World by leaving a message on Wigan Council’s Facebook or Twitter site – www.facebook.com/wigancouncilonline or www.twitter.com/wigancouncil