A new Rugby League World Cup 9s event will be staged in Sydney next year, it has been announced.
The event will feature 12 nations playing over the course of two days, October 18 and 19, at the new Western Sydney Stadium.
A total of 12 teams in the men’s competition and four teams in the women’s tournament will compete across 28 matches and 12 hours of action.
The official launch of the 2019 Rugby League World Cup 9s at Western Sydney Stadium was attended by Adam Marshall, the New South Wales (NSW) Minister for Tourism and Major Events, and Stuart Ayres, the NSW Minister for Sport, WestConnex and Western Sydney.
They were joined by Todd Greenberg, chief executive of Australia’s National Rugby League (NRL), and Nigel Wood, chief executive of the Rugby League International Federation (RLIF).
"The nines concept has been a great success and this is the obvious next step - nines at international level," Greenberg said.
"The best players in the world will be on show in this unique concept over the course of two days at the brand-new Western Sydney Stadium.
"This will be the typical fast-paced and free-flowing action which the nines brings but with the added international flavour.
"The whole week will be a celebration of rugby league in Western Sydney, with a number of community initiatives planned.
"The benefits for the game are enormous.
"It will be an exciting and innovative tournament for our fans and it will also help to develop international rugby league.
"It will be a fantastic way to showcase the game and I’d like to thank the NSW Government and Destination NSW for their support, as well as to the RLIF for their strong belief in this concept."
Rugby League 9’s World Cup is coming to the new Western Sydney Stadium in 2019.— Stuart Ayres (@stuartayresmp) 29 November 2018
Massive win for sports fans and the Western Sydney economy.
Not to mention it’s #4 in our 10 Cups in 10 Years Strategy. pic.twitter.com/CXmnXhUkzF
The NRL will work with the RLIF on the finalisation of the participating nations for the tournament.
Greenberg also acknowledged Downer, an integrated services company that is the naming rights partner for the tournament, having previously been supporters of the NRL Nines concept as well as Australia-New Zealand Test matches.
The NRL has also announced that Fox Sports will be the official broadcast partner of the 2019 Rugby League World Cup 9s.
Fox Sports will broadcast every men’s and women’s match live nationally across the two days of competition.
Wood said Sydney would be a fantastic location for the World Cup 9s concept to be showcased.
"The shorter form of rugby league provides us with an exceptional competition to attract new fans, players and commercial partners to the sport across the world whilst appealing to our current supporter base and partners who love the speed and excitement of nines," he added.
"The RLIF has the mission to showcase rugby league to the widest audience possible and through initiatives such as this, we are supporting that mission."
Australia coach Mal Meninga claimed the event would be an important concept to grow the game globally.
"I have no doubt that World Cup 9s will be a great way to expand the game at an international level," he said.
"I’m a real advocate for this concept based on what it can do for the international game."
The 2019 Rugby League World Cup 9s has been secured for Sydney by the NSW Government.
Tickets are due to go on sale next year.