Rugby League - Organisers expect successful event

Organisers of the 2013 World Cup have predicted a turnover of between £13million and £15million and confidently expect to deliver the most lucrative tournament recorded "by some distance".

PA Sport
Rugby League - Organisers expect successful event
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The World Cup is expected to deliver a record turnover

Seven weeks out from the opening matches, tournament director Nigel Wood and general manager Sally Bolton told a press briefing at MediaCityUK in Salford that the 14th World Cup is on course to meet its financial target.

They revealed the lower level for the opening ceremony and double-header at the Millennium Stadium on October 26 is a virtual sell-out while ticket sales for the November 30 final at Old Trafford have already guaranteed a bigger crowd than the 44,329 for the 2000 final, the last to be held in this country.

The 2008 World Cup which was held in Australia generated a profit of more than £2million for the international game and Wood and Bolton say they expect to top that figure, despite the lack of a headline sponsor.

The organisers insist the priority was to obtain a string of backers rather than a title sponsor and say they intend to unveil the latest significant addition to their portfolio next Tuesday.

"The tournament will achieve its commercial objective," Wood said. "If we deliver the remaining budget lines, this will be the most lucrative tournament ever staged by some distance."

Group games in Workington, Rochdale and Avignon are heading for sell-outs, with more than 13,000 tickets already sold for France's clash with holders New Zealand on November 1, and around 60 per cent of the ticket sales have been made from outside the game's traditional heartland.

"The rugby league-buying public need to get their skates on," said Bolton.

It was confirmed that the roof will be closed at the Millennium Stadium for the opening ceremony, which will be followed England's blue-riband clash with favourites Australia and Wales' group game with Italy.

It was also announced on Friday that former Great Britain coach David Waite, now assistant at Catalan Dragons, will chair the match officials panel which will appoint the referees for the tournament.

He will be joined on the panel by former RFL director of match officials Stuart Cummings and ex-St Helens coach Daniel Anderson, who is now in charge of referees in Australia's NRL.

A five-strong match-review panel, which will oversee disciplinary matters, is currently being drawn up and will be asked to standardise the playing regulations in order to avoid confusion over different interpretations between Super League and the NRL.

Coaches of the 14 nations, who will be briefed beforehand on the rules, will be instructed to announce their 19-man squads 48 hours before kick-off, which is the requirement in Super League.

Meanwhile, the BBC has announced that former England captain Jamie Peacock will be involved in the World Cup as part of the commentary team, alongside Jonathan Davies, Brian Noble and Robbie Hunter-Paul.

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