BRADFORD Bulls have described the City's Rugby World Cup 2021 snub as a "slap in the face to Rugby League heartland areas".

The council, in conjunction with Bradford Bulls and Keighley Cougars, had submitted a bid to stage women's matches for the tournament.

But, the announcement - made yesterday morning in Manchester - revealed Bradford had not been selected.

A Bradford Bulls spokesperson that they were very disappointed on hearing the news.

The spokesperson added: "Bradford put together a strong bid team comprising of Phil Barker and Andy Ross from the Council, Ken Jones and Russ MacFarlane from the Bulls and Neil Cullen from the Keighley Cougars.

"The bid itself was an excellent piece of collaboration which we felt was comprehensive and compelling, based around the women’s competition the bid would have driven engagement across all of the City and its diverse communities whilst driving massive participation from girls and women across Bradford and neighbouring communities.

"It appears that although the bid was incredibly strong in the majority of areas it fell down on financial contribution and the use of Odsal as a Stadium."

The Bradford bid, launched last summer, involved the whole city with central hotels earmarked as base camps, Tong High School pitched as a training camp, and Odsal the place for matches.

The Bradford Bulls spokesperson said: "Regarding the use of Odsal, we felt particularly aggrieved. It seems the modern trend is to ignore the iconic and historical stadiums as they are not shiny and modern football stadia are more visually attractive.

"Whist I have sympathy for this view we also lose sight of our heritage and it's somewhat of a slap in the face to Rugby League heartland areas.

"Time will tell, but showing Rugby League events in half empty stadium would look equally poor from a viewing perspective."

The spokesperson added: "We would like to put on record our thanks to Bradford Council for their full support during the bid process."

The decision to snub Bradford comes despite other Yorkshire venues and locations making the cut, including Leeds which will host more games than any other city.

Elland Road will host a men’s semi-final and Emerald Headingley Stadium will host three men’s games and two women’s games.

Old Trafford is the venue for both finals.

The Government set a target for 80 per cent of the tournament to be held in the Northern Powerhouse and this has been comfortably met by the organisers' selections.

But, the news that Bradford's bid has been snubbed is a kick in the teeth for a city that boasts one of the leading women's rugby league teams, winning the Super League and Challenge Cup double in 2017.

A spokesperson for Bradford Council, said: "Naturally we are disappointed that we’ve not been selected as a host venue for the 2021 Rugby League World Cup.

"Working with our partners including the Bradford Bulls and Keighley Cougars, we felt we put together a strong bid with a focus on the legacy from the tournament and the social benefits that it could bring to the district.

"Unfortunately competing bids offering more complete infrastructure packages have been successful and we wish them all possible success in delivering the tournament.

The spokesperson added: "We will continue to build on the work that we did for the bid, raising awareness of the opportunities across the district to engage with the sport of rugby league and general physical activity to help improve people’s health.

"And while it’s a shame there won’t be any live matches in Bradford, there will undoubtedly be strong player representation from the district in both the World Cup and Women’s World Cup tournaments."