The BBC report that Arsenal’s Emirates Stadium will be one of 21 host stadiums when the Rugby League World Cup comes to England in 2021.
Since opening in 2006, the only sporting events hosted by the Emirates have been football-related so this will be a first. It has also hosted a few gigs.
The 2021 World Cup is due to take place during the Premier League season with Newcastle’s St James’ Park hosting the opening ceremony on 23 October and Old Trafford showcasing the men’s and women’s finals on 27 November.
There was talk of our arena taking part in the 2015 Rugby Union World Cup but Arsene Wenger scotched that when he raised concerns about our beautiful playing surface taking a pounding.
With an opportunity to make a bit of extra cash, it’s possible that we’ve put those concerns to one side. Also, it’s possible that by 2021 there may be more of a winter break in place as the European football calendar prepares for the upheaval of a winter FIFA World Cup in Qatar the following year.
Sp*rs were also asked about taking part but Daniel Levy couldn’t give any assurances about their new stadium being finished in time.
Update: Arsenal have confirmed that we will host one semi-final in late November.
Speaking about our involvement, managing director Vinai Venkatesham said: “Everyone here at Arsenal is really proud to be a host stadium at the Rugby League World Cup 2021.
“A semi-final match at Emirates Stadium in London between two of the world’s strongest Rugby League nations promises to be a huge sporting event.”