Rugby League World Cup: Australia and New Zealand pull out of tournament
Australia and New Zealand have pulled out of the Rugby League World Cup because of "player welfare and safety concerns" related to Covid-19.
The men's, women's and wheelchair events are scheduled to take place in England this autumn.
New Zealand Rugby League (NZRL) chief Greg Peters said it was "simply too unsafe" to take part.
Rugby Football League (RFL) chairman Simon Johnson called it a "selfish, parochial and cowardly decision".
"Rugby League World Cup organisers have bent over backwards to offer every assurance to the Australians and the Kiwis," Johnson told BBC Radio 4's Today programme.
"We are very unhappy with this decision and we are not prepared to take it lying down."
NZRL chief Peters said the decision to withdraw was made because the safety and wellbeing of the players and staff "cannot be guaranteed to our satisfaction".
"There are stark differences between how the pandemic is being managed in the UK compared to Australasia, and recent developments have highlighted how quickly things can change.
"The tournament organisers have moved heaven and earth to make this work, so it …
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