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Rugby League Four Nations Tournament

Volume 534: debated on Thursday 3 November 2011

Sport England is providing £27.5 million to the Rugby Football League to support the grassroots in the period 2009-13. We are also providing up to £1.5 million to help with the hosting of the rugby league world cup in 2013. As with the six nations tournament in rugby union, we do not provide direct financial support for the Four Nations cup in rugby league, but I wish it every success.

I thank the Minister for his answer and for his support. The all-party rugby league group is delighted to host the Rugby League International Federation board today, and I am sure that he will want to join us in welcoming the return of international rugby league to Wembley with the Four Nations double header on Saturday. Does he welcome the fact that there is going to be a statue of a rugby league player at Wembley, and will the Government assist in making that a success as well?

I join the hon. Gentleman in welcoming the international board. That is a fantastic achievement, and yes, it is right that an appropriate way to mark that connection should be found at Wembley, which is a stadium that resonates with rugby league history as well as football history. I will of course do anything that I can to help.

In the other rugby code, rugby union has just seen a successful world cup in New Zealand. The next tournament will be in England in 2015, and the town of Rugby in my constituency is already preparing to receive visitors to the home of the game. Will the Minister lend his support to that work?

Yes, certainly. Was it not in Rugby that William Webb Ellis first picked up a ball and ran with it? That will clearly be a key part of the celebrations in 2015, and we will do everything that we can to support them.