YORK City Knights chairman Jon Flatman has hailed the “excellent news” that the city will be the base for the number one men’s and women’s teams during the 2021 Rugby League World Cup.

York will be the base for the New Zealand men’s side, women’s world champions Australia as well as New Zealand, France and Cook Islands women’s sides during next year’s tournament.

The city is set to host a number of games at the LNER Community Stadium including both of the women’s semi-finals.

Knights chief Flatman said: “This is the most excellent news for the city, the region and World Class Sport.

“York is the most wonderful city to live, learn and enjoy and I am sure the region will take all of the teams to heart and make them very welcome.

“Our combined challenge is to create a long lasting legacy for sport, health, business and community cohesion.

“Visiting teams, we welcome you to a host city which we know, will leave positive life long memories.”

The news came yesterday as part of the tournament’s ‘500 Days to Go’ campaign, which marked the time until the opening match at Newcastle’s St James’ Park.

Numerous bases were confirmed, with the England and Australia men’s sides - who went head to head in the 2017 final - to be hosted in Manchester.

The England women’s squad - who reached the semi-finals of the 2017 competition in Australia - will be based in Leeds next year.

York St John University’s chief operating officer Rob Hickey said: “As we navigate through the impact of Covid-19, I hope we can look forward to the return of great sporting fixtures, and the Rugby League World Cup here in York promises to be a very special event.

“York St John University is delighted to show support for both Women’s World Cup semi-finals and group stage matches and we look forward to welcoming teams from around the world to our city.”

Amy Martin, chief executive of Queen Ethelburga’s Collegiate said: “This is incredibly exciting news.

“We are proud to be part of such a strong York offer, in supporting what will be an unforgettable experience for all of us.

“Our Sports Performance Pathway is such an important part of what we offer at Queen Ethelburga’s, and to be part of this globally watched event will have a hugely positive impact on our students and other aspiring athletes across the city.”

Jon Dutton, RLWC2021 Chief Executive, said: “York is a wonderful city with a rich history and we’re all thrilled that it’s playing such a major role in Rugby League World Cup 2021.

“The city will be hosting some of the biggest names in the sport and a wealth of incredible talent in 2021 and I know the people of York will be incredibly welcoming hosts.

“Our refreshed tournament identity and today’s nation base announcement can serve as an exciting reminder for the people of York of what’s to come in 2021 as we continue to build momentum towards what promises to be the biggest and best Rugby League World Cup in history.”