International rugby league bosses will seek answers from promoters of the 2025 World Cup in North America following the collapse of the Denver experiment.
Next year’s scheduled Test between New Zealand and England in Colorado has been canned and the final match of a three-year deal in 2020 seems highly unlikely to go ahead.
The New Zealand Rugby League is still to be paid the agreed six-figure match fee for this year’s Test from promoters Moore Sports International. The contentious mid-season match drew a crowd of under 20,000 to Mile High Stadium.
Next year’s clash has effectively been replaced by a Test between New Zealand and Tonga, it was announced on Wednesday.
Rugby League International Federation chief executive Nigel Wood praised the organisation of matches for the rapidly-improving Tongan side, who will also face Australia in Auckland next month.
However, he was concerned by the Denver failure and the possible ramifications for RLWC 2025 which was awarded to the United States and Canada following a bid driven by Moore Sports International.
“The RLIF will now be seeking further discussions with the promoter to get a full understanding of any potential implications for their bid to host RLWC2025 in the United States,” Wood said in a statement.
NZRL chief executive Greg Peters questioned the viability of the tournament and made some telling statements in relation to the final two years of their three-year contract with the North American promoter.
“We’re not going to Denver in 2019, I can assure of that.”
Asked about the 2020 match in the same city, Peters simply replied “probably not”.