Rugby League World Cup organisers have further delayed their decision on the tournament following another emergency board meeting on Wednesday.
The board met to discuss the implications of Australia and New Zealand’s withdrawal and how the event can go ahead without them.
A number of options are on the table, including invitations to Indigenous and Maori representative sides to replace the pair, though cancellation is another possibility.
Government ministers are likely to have a strong influence on the decision, which now doesn’t look set to be made until next week.
In a statement, RLWC said: “While the Board reiterated the determination to deliver the biggest and best ever Rugby League World Cup in history, they are also realistic about the significant challenges that threaten that ambition.
“In light of the decision by the ARLC and NZRL to withdraw from the event, the Board have instructed the RLWC2021 team to continue to hold further urgent discussions with all stakeholders, particularly the players, aimed at correcting misinformation as well as measuring the sentiment on proceeding with the tournament.
“The RLWC2021 Board recognise the need to bring clarity and certainty to the situation. They have also underlined the relentless work that has been taking place to establish the most safe and secure environment for all involved – in line with other world class major events that have taken place successfully in the UK in 2021.
“We place on record our sincere thanks for the understanding of the hundreds of thousands of fans who are planning to attend the tournament, as well as our loyal commercial and broadcast partners who have been so supportive during this challenging time.”
There has been no indication that either ARLC or NZRL will change their mind or reconsider their participation in the competition, despite heavy scrutiny.
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