UAE plans bid to host the 2021 Rugby League World Cup
Last Updated: 18/04/15 12:04pm
United Arab Emirates is planning an audacious bid to host the 2021 Rugby League World Cup.
The sport is very much in its infancy in the Middle East but the country's government is keen to boost the nation's international profile.
Sol Mokdad, the president of UAERL, believes the country has the facilities, as well as the financial backing and infrastructure to host the World Cup.
"This is an ideal location for a World Cup," Mokdad told The National, one of UAE's main newspapers.
"It is exactly between Australia and the UK, there is always talk in the media about the big events being hosted in Dubai. With Expo 2020 being here, with all the infrastructure being created, it will be the perfect time.
"It would also be the UAE's 50th birthday, so it all aligns - it will just come down to us getting partners who can help us get that bid together."
The World Cup has only ever been hosted by the major countries of Australia, New Zealand, France and Great Britain, although South Africa submitted an application for the 2017 event which was awarded jointly to Australia and New Zealand.
The hosts for the 16th Rugby League World Cup are expected to be named in October 2016 and the Rugby League International Federation (RLIF) board has said expressions of interest will be sought by the first quarter of 2015.
Invitations to tender will then be sent out and an evaluation committee appointed, with bids submitted during the first quarter of 2016.
RLIF chairman Nigel Wood said: "I fully anticipate that for 2021 more nations than ever before will be submitting bids to stage the tournament and, with the decision being made in advance of the 2017 competition, there will be excellent opportunities to shadow organisers and learn from that event."