The Rugby League is to move its headquarters to Manchester’s Etihad Campus, moving from its current base in Leeds, making it the second major tenant to sign up to the campus’ planned expansion.
The sport governing body’s plans will form part of the next phase of the expansion of the campus in East Manchester, which was signed off by Manchester City Council in January this year.
Plans for the area include a sports and innovation zone, anchored by Manchester Metropolitan University’s new Institute of Sport next to the Etihad Stadium.
The Rugby League plans to move into a new headquarters before the start of the 2021 Rugby League World Cup, which is due to begin in October that year.
Although plans are still at the development stage, the Rugby League plans to open its headquarters and centre of excellence next to MMU’s proposed development.
The Rugby League also confirmed it will become a tenant of the existing Manchester Regional Arena on the Etihad Campus, which will be rebranded as the National Rugby League Centre.
The governing body’s search for a new headquarters began in 2016 and involved proposals from a number of different councils across the North of England.
Sir Richard Leese, leader of Manchester City Council said: “The arrival of a national governing body which oversees one of the most popular sports in the country is another major boost for the city and in particular the Etihad Campus which is already the home of British Cycling and English squash as well as Manchester City FC, and a host of world-class sports facilities for both elite and community use.
“It perfectly complements our vision for the Etihad Campus as a globally competitive sport and leisure cluster which will continue to act as a powerful catalyst for the ongoing regeneration of East Manchester and underlines its status as a sporting epicentre.”
Other future plans for the Etihad Campus include a “high-density commercial frontage” along Alan Turing Way and a mixed-use development including hotels, retail, food and beverage outlets.
At Holt Town, earmarked for residential use and employment space, existing heritage buildings will be retained to redevelop the area into a high-density residential area, alongside a cultural and entertainment cluster.