Prime Minister pledges support for Rugby League World Cup 2013
During Prime Ministers Questions on Wednesday 10 July, Parliamentary Rugby League Group Chairman, Leeds North West MP Greg Mulholland, called on the Prime Minister to support fully and promote the Rugby League World Cup 2013.
The Rugby League World Cup 2013 is the first major multi-nation international sporting tournament in the UK since the London 2012 Olympics and Paralympics, and the fourteenth time the tournament has been played. The opening ceremony takes place at the Millennium Stadium on 26 October and sees Wales face Italy and England play Australia. The World Champions will be crowned on 30 November after the final at Old Trafford.
Paying tribute to the recent success of Andy Murray at Wimbledon, Mulholland reminded the House that fellow Scotsman, Dave Valentine, was the first man to lift the Rugby League World Cup for Great Britain in 1954. This time, Scotland is competing separately, and is joined by host nations England and Wales. Ireland is also represented and will host games as will hosts of the first World Cup, France.
The Prime Minister was asked to give his support to the tournament and if he plans on attending any of the games, to which David Cameron affirmed to the House his strong support for the UK hosting the tournament.
Mulholland is now writing to the Prime Minister, Deputy Prime Minister and the Minister for Sport and Tourism Hugh Robertson asking them to meet to discuss how the Government plans to promote the tournament and inviting them to join members of the Parliamentary Rugby League Group at one of the games.
Mulholland’s Leeds North West constituency is home to Headingly Carnegie Stadium where two matches of the World Cup will be played and is hosting the Festival of World Cups finals for Police, Women and Students on Sunday 14 July.
Commenting, Mulholland said “I am happy that the Government plans to fully support and promote this historic sporting event for Britain and I hope the Prime Minister will demonstrate this support by himself attending a game. I look forward to productive discussions in the weeks ahead about how we can best support and promote the tournament.
“As an MP whose constituency features one of the stadiums for the tournament, I know that this event will benefit not only sports fan but the British economy as well.
“England might not have won a tournament since 1972, but as Andy Murray’s win this weekend revealed, you can never count Great Britain out – and I have high hopes for our chances this autumn. I wish all of the teams good luck and I look forward to this year’s World Cup being the best ever.”
Tournament General Manager Sally Bolton said “We are pleased the Prime Minister has reaffirmed his support for Rugby League World Cup 2013. He has previously hosted representatives from England and Wales and we have an open dialogue with Number 10 and other Government departments, Ministers and Officials.
“It was fantastic to see the PM supporting Andy Murray at the Wimbledon Final last weekend, and we’re sure he’ll be as equally fervent in his backing of England, Scotland and Wales at Rugby League World Cup 2013.”
The full transcript of the exchange:
Greg Mulholland (Leeds North West) (LD): We are all celebrating Andy Murray’s historic victory this week. The Prime Minister may not know that history was also made in 1954, when Dave Valentine, a Scotsman, was the first man to lift the rugby league world cup trophy for Great Britain. The 14th rugby league world cup is happening this year—the first major sporting tournament on these shores since last year’s wonderful London 2012 Olympics and Paralympics. Will the Prime Minister give it full support and will he come to one of the games?
The Prime Minister: I was not aware of that important piece of history and I am very grateful to my hon. Friend for bringing me up to date. I strongly support the fact that we are holding this tournament and will give it all the support I can. Obviously, between now and then we have the small issue of the Ashes, and it is important that we hold that as well.