LONDON (AP) — Organizers of the Rugby League World Cup scheduled for England in October have deferred a final decision on whether the tournament will go ahead as planned.
Officials were thought to be under pressure to make an announcement this week but talks are ongoing in a bid to salvage the tournament.
Australia and New Zealand have yet to commit to the event amid lingering concerns over the coronavirus pandemic and its impact on travel from the southern hemisphere.
NRL clubs, who are expected to supply the bulk of players for half of the 16 nations, are particularly concerned over the need for players to go into quarantine on their return to Australia and New Zealand.
However, in a statement on Thursday, organizers said progress has been made and they will take their time before making a final call.
“Our primary focus remains to deliver the Rugby League World Cup this year, as planned, and constructive progress has been made this week,” the statement said.
“We are realistic about the complex challenges we are facing in these unprecedented times, including the international travel arrangements and quarantining of athletes and staff from the southern hemisphere.”
It continued: "In the interests of delivering clarity and certainty to everyone involved in staging the tournament, a final decision will be made as soon as possible. However, we have made it clear that our decision making will not be dictated by deadlines if further consideration is required.”
If the tournament is postponed, the option is to play it 12 months later.
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