RUGBY league’s World Cup may move seven days earlier in the calendar after it was postponed for a year.
The tournament was shelved as scheming NRL clubs got their way after Australia and New Zealand pulled out if it was to be played in 2021.
Now bosses have to find a new spot for it, one that avoids football’s World Cup in Qatar.
And SunSport understands the current plan is to bring it forward a week in October, meaning Super League’s Grand Final would have to do the same.
That would also mean the final is played before the November 21 start date in the Middle East, meaning the Rugby League World Cup would whet the appetite.
Talks will also start in the coming days with all the venues for the matches, notably Old Trafford for the final, Arsenal’s Emirates for a semi-final and Newcastle’s St James’ Park for the opening game.
Even though 85 per cent of players surveyed said they were willing to come to England this year and England star Thomas Burgess delayed his wedding to play, the tournament was postponed because of NRL clubs’ unwillingness to release stars.
But tournament chief executive Jon Dutton, who hopes to release the new schedule before Christmas, believes exceeding off-field expectations can help minimise the financial pain.
He said: “At every point, we’ve smashed our target. When tickets went back on sale, we were 21 per cent above target and we've already exceeded our commercial target significantly, we're being approached in areas the sport's never been in too
“We will offer customers an initial refund should they wish and a further chance of one when we publish the new schedule but I’m very confident the majority of people will stay with us.
“We’re in a really strong position, the domestic broadcast partnership will be unaffected.
“We believe we’ll be able to stand on our own two feet for as long as we can through our exceptional commercial performance.”
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