Organisers of the 2021 World Cup are determined to leave a lasting legacy by making £20million available to the grassroots game.

The tournament has been boosted by a £10million government grant which organisers say will be worth double with matched contributions from recipients.

The money was pledged in 2015 as part of the establishment of the northern powerhouse and will be distributed in partnership with Sport England.

“We have £10million that the sport will spend entirely in the community of rugby league,” Jon Dutton, 2021 chief executive, said.

“It’s brand new money that will be divided into small grants to encourage the community to set up more junior and girls teams or for big transformational projects, which might be a new clubhouse or new synthetic pitch.”

Bids open on October 23, three years out from the opening of the tournament, but clubs are invited to express their interest now and Dutton expects the scheme to be oversubscribed.

Life Chances FundSports Minister Tracey Crouch has pledged £10million in funding. PA Images/Nick Ansell.

Tracey Crouch, Minister for Sport and Civil Society, said: “Hosting the Rugby League World Cup is a huge opportunity to promote the sport. We want the tournament to leave a lasting legacy and inspire more people to take part.

“Excellent sports facilities are important in encouraging people to get involved and keep playing. This £10 million government investment will fund new equipment, improve local clubs, and help grow the game.”

Meanwhile,  the 2021 World Cup is set to be played exclusively in England, with 80 per cent of the fixtures in the north.

Organisers will also break with tradition by not starting the tournament with a blockbusting clash between England and Australia.

Previous World Cups hosted by the Rugby Football League in 1995, 2000 and 2013 included fixtures in France, Wales and Ireland but government funding will dictate a change in policy for 2021.

“I think it’s fair to say we won’t be going to France,” Dutton told a media briefing in MediaCityUK. “The £25million that has come into the tournament is money for England.

Rugby League – World Cup 2013 – Final – New Zealand v Australia – Old TraffordA view of the scoreboard after Australia win the Rugby League World Cup Final at Old Trafford. PA Images/Anna Gowthorpe

“It’s a devolved budget. So it’s the same with Ireland and Wales. If a really compelling bid comes to the table, we will have a real good look at it but I don’t anticipate that will be the case.”

There will be a total of 65 matches in 2021, including women and wheelchair events, over five weeks but organisers envisage 14 venues for the 31 fixtures for the men’s tournament, down from 21 in 2013.

Dutton says London will definitely stage games and hints that fixtures could also be held in the seven major cities across the north when the list is announced next January.

England v Slovenia – 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifying – Group F – Wembley StadiumWembley could hold the 2021 World Cup final. PA Images/Mike Egerton.

“The sport in 1895 was born in the north and we should be really proud of our heritage so we’ve got to find the right balance between celebrating that and also getting a cut-through across the rest of England,” he said.

“We have had 40 expressions of interest, that is probably now about 30, so we’re going to have some really tough decisions to make. I’ve been blown away by the level of interest.”

The number of teams will be up by two to 16 and Dutton envisages four pools of four with the big three of England, Australia and New Zealand to be joined by new heavyweights Tonga as the four seeds.