Reporter: Andrew Cream
Date online: 11 March 2011
Rochdale council representatives alongside rugby league officials
Rochdale Hornets’ unveiled their bid to host a game in the 2013 Rugby League World Cup today (Friday 11 March 2011).
Representatives from Rochdale Council joined officials from the RFL at Spotland Stadium to look at the benefits of staging a game during the 14 team tournament.
If the bid is successful, Spotland Stadium could play host to a first round game in the event. Rochdale Rugby League Development Officer Ryan Bradley explained that bids could not be made for specific games, but Rochdale’s will be geared towards Fiji versus Ireland, as the town has a rich Fijian heritage.
Four generations of Fijians were present, including Mike Ratu Snr who joined the Hornets via the British Army in the 60s, and Mike Ratu Jnr, Chairman of the Rochdale Fijian association.
Hornets chairman Mark Wynn said: “It’s just a fantastic opportunity. In any sport the World Cup is the pinnacle of the game, and the history between Rochdale and Fiji is such a big draw.”
Mr Wynn feels it is important for the bid to be successful: “We want more people playing rugby league and we want more people watching rugby league [in Rochdale].”
“We’ve got from the support from the people that matter and we have that unique selling point,” he said. “There’s no other cultural link like this between a country and a town.”
Council Leader Colin Lambert said the council is exploring how it might be involved and he believes Rochdale has the facilities required: “We are working with Rochdale Hornets and will also be getting together with other stakeholders and groups to discuss their involvement in a bid.
“By working together, the club, the council and many community partners are keen to get involved in order to gain maximum exposure and economic benefit for all.”
The Mayor of Rochdale Councillor Zulfiqar Ali said there would be significant benefits: “Rochdale has a rich rugby history going back to 1871.
Our warm friendly welcome to visitors, along with our excellent sports, leisure, tourist and travel links put us in a fantastic position to be successful in the bidding process.
"I urge all residents to get behind this bid and help bring a major sporting event to the borough.”