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Sunday, 05 July 2015

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Calls for Workington to host rugby World Cup

West Cumbria’s dream to host Rugby League World Cup matches have been shattered after Copeland council pulled the plug on its bid this week.


Calls have been made for Workington’s Derwent Park stadium to be named as the alternative venue, as the area attempts to cling on to the hope that West Cumbria could still have a place on the world stage of rugby.

Tony Cunningham, Workington MP, has already written to the RFL, asking if the matches involving Scotland, Italy and Tonga could be shifted to Allerdale. The council’s ruling executive was due to meet last night to discuss how it could take on Copeland’s doomed bid.

Mr Cunningham said: “It’s horrendously disappointing. But it’s no good sitting and saying ‘Ah well, that’s it for West Cumbria. The least we can do is try to salvage something from it and the least we can do is ask the question of ‘Why not Derwent Park?’”

The group behind Copeland’s proposals for a new £5.5 million stadium – Copeland council, Whitehaven Rugby League Club and Whitehaven Amateur Football Club – said it wasn’t cost effective to continue with the stadium after failing to agree terms with landowner Whitehaven Miners’ Welfare Association about an access route.

As a result, they said that Whitehaven would not be able to host the two games at the 2013 RL World Cup.

Alan Smith, Allerdale council leader, said the whole saga was a travesty.

Jamie Reed, Copeland MP, said: “There’s no place for amateurism in the development of West Cumbria. Those not up to it should get out of the way and leave it to those who know how to do it.”

Dave Bowden, chairman of Workington Town Rugby League Club, said: “Those who acted in parochial and political self-interest in attempting to leverage the game to showcase in their own backyard should be ashamed that their actions led to the sporting community of West Cumbria being denied this wonderful opportunity.

“From the outset Workington Town and Allerdale were completely behind a unified bid involving both local authorities and both professional clubs.

“The moment a separate bid was launched and the RFL encouraged this weaker alternative centring around the construction deadline of a stadium meant this whole situation was entirely predictable.

“Now that Copeland’s solo bid has failed I do not think we should sit back without making a serious attempt to make sure the World Cup remains in West Cumbria.

“It will take a Herculean effort to keep it, but I will be speaking with Allerdale council and trying to find a route forward. We cannot let it go without a fight.”

Alan Smith, Allerdale council leader, said: “If we can make it work for the West Cumbrian community, we will.

“Rugby league fans here are bananas about the sport and it’s a travesty Copeland had to pull out, taking with them our hopes of creating a lasting legacy.

“We must do what we can to stop the competition and the legacy it will leave behind, walking away.”

Sally Bolton, Rugby League World Cup’s general manager, said a contingency plan would be announced shortly.

Most of the stadium cash was sourced through Britain’s Energy Coast funding obtained from Nuclear Management Partners.

In a joint statement, the Pow Beck stadium backers said: “We have agreed unanimously that it is no longer affordable nor feasible to continue negotiations with the Whitehaven Miners’ Welfare Organisation and will instead look to develop the stadium in a new direction. As a result of this decision the opportunity to bring the 2013 Rugby League World Cup to Whitehaven is lost.”

l Comment – page 10

Have your say

Talk,talk,talk,talk,talk,talk, cheap, cheap, cheap, cheap, cheap....all TALK, and everything on the CHEAP. That about sums up the people of the West Coast....if Sellafield isn't involved it becomes a no go. When it comes to the crunch the council get involved and the whole thing is "Kyboshed". Maybe a good thing the games will be staged elsewhere, as why would we want visitors coming to see 2 bit cowboy towns of Whitehaven or Workington. We are back in the middle ages with this council trying to organise/spend money hand over fist with nothing to show apart from an empty pot. If we want to succeed the 60 % who don't vote need to do so and get these amatuers out and professionals in to get the show on the road. A change is as good as a rest, and by god we rapidly need a change.

Posted by Bill on 2 May 2012 at 16:12

just like the jameaters to try take the rugby away shame on you copeland bou con

Posted by iain crawford on 1 May 2012 at 22:24

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