Rochdale’s warm welcome for Fiji and Ireland
Date published: 08 May 2012
Senior officials from Fiji National Rugby League and Rugby League Ireland visited Rochdale this week during their tour of North West towns and cities taking part in the Rugby League World Cup 2013.
Chairman of Fiji National Rugby League, Peni Musunamasi and the teams Technical Director Steve McLellan, were given a guided tour of Spotland Stadium, the venue that will host Fiji’s Group A match against Ireland in October 2013.
They were then joined by Ged Corcoran from Rugby League Ireland, for a civic reception at Rochdale Town Hall hosted by the Mayor, Councillor Alan Godson.
Rochdale will be Fiji’s adopted nation for the duration of the tournament, held during the ‘golden decade of sport’, and Mr Musunamasi said he was impressed with the facilities: “We have had a wonderful welcome today in Rochdale. Fiji has had an excellent relationship with this borough over many years and I know we will have a lot of support when we play here next year. There is a great history between Fiji and Rochdale … playing here is going to feel just like being at home.”
Both Hornets and the town have a long association with the local Fijian community, which is the largest outside London. Links with Fiji and Rochdale go back to 1961.
The official visit to the region was arranged to enable officials to check the sites where they will play and be based during the tournament.
Mark Widdup, Director of Operational Services at Rochdale Borough Council, said: “The chance to see a world cup match being played at our local stadium is brilliant news for the people of the borough. Working with schools and in the community we also want to use the tournament to achieve a legacy of increased participation in sport well beyond the world cup. It’s an opportunity to encourage more young people to take up the game.”
Brian Ashworth, Chairman of Link4Life, added: “Rugby League in this borough is vibrant at all levels from schools and juniors to the Hornets. The world cup will give us the springboard to take the game forward to even higher levels and I hope the public will get behind this local opportunity to see world class players in action.”
Upwards of half a million people are expected to watch the 28 matches live over a six-week period in the autumn of 2013 with a further 20 million viewers from 120 countries tuning in around the world.
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