The Rugby League World Cup will officially be postponed until next year following the withdrawal of powerhouses Australia and New Zealand.
Tournament chiefs had pondered pressing ahead without the two juggernauts, which would have left England as overwhelming favourites to win the competition on home soil.
But a decision has now been made to play the tournament at the end of next year instead, report Rugby League Live.
It comes after a series of emergency meetings between competition organisers and government officials where it was decided a postponement was the best course of action.
The news is expected to be confirmed later this week.
World Cup chief Jon Dutton accepted last week that the tournament had been left with only a 50% chance of taking place as scheduled following the bombshell from Down Under.
And the decision to postpone is understood to have been taken due to the impact of lost broadcast revenue among a host of other logistical issues.
Australia and New Zealand withdrew citing the health of their players as their primary concern amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
NRL clubs were reluctant to send their players to the other side of the world, although most players themselves were happy to make the trip to represent their countries.
“We all want to see a strong, safe and successful Rugby League World Cup,” Canberra Raiders CEO Don Furner said.
“It’s clear that cannot be achieved in 2021, but we are in strong support for the tournament to be held in 2022. We want the players to come home healthy.”
A knock-on effect of the postponement could be an extension to the Super League season, given the havoc the pandemic has wreaked over the course of the campaign.
The fixture list has been heavily disrupted, with numerous fixtures set to be left unplayed. However, some of those could now take place if the season is prolonged.