Greater Manchester Police’s counter-terrorism arm has urged fans to “play their part” and “trust their instincts” during the 2021 Rugby League World Cup.
Thousands of people are expected to travel for matches being held across Greater Manchester for this year’s tournament in what is set to be a record-breaking event in terms of crowds.
Despite the usual four year-break between World Cups, like most other sport, Covid significantly impacted attendance numbers at major rugby matches and this international tournament will see fans coming from all corners of the globe to support the 32 teams competing.
Whilst there is said to be no specific threat or intelligence linked to the competition thus far, Counter Terrorism Policing and GMP have issued a statement urging fans to be vigilant and report suspicious activity to stewards or police.
Matches for the men’s, women’s and wheelchair events at the 2021 World Cup will take place at Leigh Sports Village, the University of Bolton Stadium; Wigan’s DW Stadium, Manchester Central and Old Trafford stadium, which will host the final two games on 19 November 2022.
GMP silver tournament commander and Chief Inspector, Jamie Collins, said: “We are proud to play a part in hosting the Rugby League World Cup and to welcome people from across the world.
“We’re working closely with organisers to make sure that everything is in place for fans of every nation attending to have a safe and enjoyable time.
“However, there is also a role for the public to play in reporting anything that doesn’t feel right. We need fans to trust their instincts. If you’re not sure about something, tell a steward or a police officer, and they will do the rest.
GMP have gone on to assure went on to assure that all safety measures will be thoroughly tested but reiterated that those heading watch the match must follow protocols and treat police, official team staff, stewards, and those working around the grounds in any capacity with respect.
Tournament Director Dean Hardman said: “With thousands of fans attending Rugby League World Cup’s 61 tournament matches, we’re pleased to be working closely with Counter Terrorism Policing to ensure ticket holders have a positive and enjoyable matchday experience.”
This first match played in Greater Manchester this year starts at 7:30pm on Wednesday, 19 October in Leigh, where Wales will be taking on the Cook Islands.
Have a good one folks and stay safe!
Featured Image — Rugby League World Cup (via Facebook)/Wikimedia Commons
Morocco fans shut down the streets of Rusholme while celebrating remarkable win against Spain
Morocco fans living in Manchester were understandably ecstatic following their incredible win over Spain in the World Cup and their celebrations ended up spilling onto the streets of Rusholme.
The North African nation who currently sit as the world no. 22 in the FIFA ranking stunned almost everyone watching their round of 16 tie against Spain, who for many were considered among the favourites to win the tournament, as they beat them 3-0 on penalties.
After some serious heroics from the keeper commonly known as ‘Bono’, Spanish-born wingback Achraf Hakimi sealed the win with an audacious Panenka penalty to send Morocco into the quarters.
And this is how those on the streets of Rusholme reacted:
As you can see, large stretches of the Curry Mile were brought to a standstill as Morocco fans danced in the streets, sounding out chants and waving flags following their historic victory.
Besides beating the same team who smacked Costa Rica for seven just a couple of games prior, they also became the first Arab nation to ever make it to the final eight of the World Cup. Record-breakers.
Although the scenes were obviously joyous, the jubilation did lead to a series of impromptu roadblocks.
Paul Heaton & Jacqui Abbott ‘working on plans’ to screen England vs France game at AO Arena gig
Paul Heaton has said that he’s ‘working on plans’ to screen the England vs France World Cup match ahead of his gig in Manchester this weekend.
Paul Heaton & Jacqui Abbott are set to play a huge gig at the AO Arena this Saturday – clashing with England’s quarter finals game.
Paul has said that they understand fans ‘might prefer not to miss the youthful looks of Jack Grealish’.
His announcement that they are hoping to show the game has drawn a mixed reaction from fans.
Many welcomed the news that they wouldn’t have to miss the huge match from the Qatar World Cup.
But others said that it would ruin the show, with one person tweeting: “Please don’t ruin the show with that. I’ll be wanting my money back if I’m going to see football rather than the music!”
Paul replied to say: “We won’t. We just have to make sure the place isn’t half full.”
He has now gone on to address the divided opinions on the football being screened at the AO Arena, sharing a photo of himself pulling a silly face with the words: “Me trying to work out what to do next Saturday @England @AOArena.”
Many fans have pointed out that Paul Heaton and Jacqui Abbott aren’t actually due on stage until 9pm and that, all being well, the game will be over by then anyway.
Others have pleaded that they don’t cut the show short to fit it in around the England vs France game, and wondered what it would mean for Billy Bragg’s supporting slot.
Jacqui Abbott hasn’t been able to perform with the group for the last few shows due to ill health, but it’s hoped she’ll be back on stage with her former The Beautiful South bandmate by the time they gig in Manchester.
The duo offered refunds to anyone who no longer wanted to attend the concerts without Jacqui after she was told to sit them out on doctor’s orders.
But Paul added: “For those who choose to retain their tickets for the next three shows, I promise you that myself & the boys will put on a show to remember. We’ll sorely miss Jacqui but our intent is to make those who refund their tickets bitterly regret that decision. Thanks for your support.”
The pair were on the receiving end of a lot of praise from members of the public after announcing the tour, and capping ticket prices at £30.