Council chiefs in St Helens are preparing a bid to become a host venue for the 2021 Rugby League World Cup.
Working with Saints, they have approached the Rugby Football League hoping the Totally Wicked Stadium can host group games for the men’s and women’s tournament.
The bid, which will cost around £90,000 paid for from council coffers, will form part of the borough 150th anniversary celebration and, if successful, could deliver an £4.5m boost to the local economy.
Council leader Derek Long said: “Rugby League has a strong heritage in the borough and with Saints currently top of the league and in scintillating form, it’s our duty to prepare a bid as good as the rugby Ben Barba and co are producing right now.
“St Helens Rugby League Club and the council invested to build one of the best stadiums in the country with the aim of attracting high profile events such as the Rugby league World Cup to our borough, so I think we’re in a very strong position to deliver this once again.
“We will do all we can to ensure our bid is a successful one as it is a great opportunity to raise the borough’s profile nationally and internationally, while supporting our objectives of raising aspirations in St Helens.”
Initial discussions with the tournament organisers have also resulted in the view that the borough should seek to host a team training base using Ruskin Drive Sports Village and Saints’ training base at Cowley Language College.
In order to get the bid moving, councillors have agreed to contribute up to £30,000 per annum in 2019/20, 2020/21 and 2021/22 from the Transformation Reserve Fund to support the bid.