By PA Media
Last Updated: 03/26/20 10:56 pm
The organizers of the Rugby League 2021 World Cup will give 20,021 tickets to health and welfare workers to recognize their efforts in the fight against the coronvavirus pandemic.
Chief Executive Jon Dutton made the announcement at an online press conference held at the same time as Thursday night's national applause for NHS staff.
Organizers have been forced to come up with a new timeline for the rest of 2020, but, with the tournament set to begin next October, Dutton says rescheduling of the event has not been discussed.
"The team made the unanimous decision to provide 20,021 free tickets to key workers in the UK as our way of saying thank you," Dutton said.
"The hard work, effort, dedication and determination must be recognized and hopefully we can provide these local heroes and their families with something to look forward to next year."
Despite the fact that many sporting events around the world have been postponed or even canceled as a result of the coronavirus outbreak, Dutton remains hopeful that the World Cup will not be affected by the current crisis.
"Other sports, clubs, leagues and events have been severely affected by COVID-19 and our planning must be aligned and proportional to the world crisis and respect the most immediate needs," he said.
"We have done several aspects of scenario planning and believe that the current plan is the most appropriate at this time."
"However, we know that we must be flexible and adapt when appropriate."