World Rugby has announced that its flagship 15s and sevens Rugby World Cup properties will no longer include gender in their titles, furthering its commitment to equality and brand consistency across its portfolio.
In a first for a major sporting federation, the women's designation will be dropped from Women's Rugby World Cup 2021 in New Zealand which will now be named Rugby World Cup 2021, starting the global roll out.
The move will ensure that the competitions have equal billing from a brand perspective, regardless of whether the events feature men or women. The purpose is to elevate the profile of the women's game, while eliminating any inherent or perceived bias towards men's only competitions and tournaments, which traditionally haven't specified gender.
The decision to adopt a consistent approach to the naming of these events and tournaments was based on a recommendation brought before Council by the Rugby World Cup Limited (RWCL) Board.
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It is underpinned by World Rugby's key strategic priority to advance gender balance at all levels of rugby under its ambitious global action plan, Accelerating the global development of women in rugby 2017-25.
World Rugby Chairman Sir Bill Beaumont said: "This announcement demonstrates our ongoing and unwavering commitment to advancing women in rugby both on and off the field in line with our ambitious strategic plan.
"Unintentional gender bias in sport is an ongoing issue. As a global sporting federation we need to be leading from the front on the issue of equality. By adopting gender balance in the naming of men's and women's Rugby World Cup competitions, we are setting new standards in equality in rugby."
The 2021 Rugby World Cup will see New Zealand host the tournament for the first time.
Looking ahead to Rugby World Cup 2021, New Zealand Rugby Chief Executive Steve Tew commented: "This is great leadership from World Rugby at a time that rugby is eager to embrace and celebrate true inclusivity and equality across the game. We are delighted that New Zealand is hosting Rugby World Cup 2021, and we look forward to the world's best teams in women's international rugby coming to our shores and taking part in a fantastic display of rugby."