A BID to stage an international sports tournament is hoped to boost the region’s economy by around £8m, according to a North-East authority.

Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen revealed last week he is hoping to secure fixtures for the Rugby League World Cup 2021 to be hosted in the region.

A £250,000 bid has been launched to attract defending champions Australia to Darlington, where the squad would use facilities such as The Northern Echo Arena and Rockliffe Hall, in Hurworth, near Darlington.

The Riverside Stadium has also been put forward as a potential host for fixtures and Mr Houchen argued the case for the Tees Valley bid in front of an audience of businesses at Middlesbrough Football Club’s home ground.

Also addressing the audience was Jon Dutton, chief executive of the Rugby League World Cup 2021, who highlighted the transformative effect that holding matches had made elsewhere.

A Tees Valley Combined Authority spokesman said: “The region has a long history of engaging with both rugby and other international sporting events.

“Darlington Mowden Park RFC has previously hosted the New Zealand All Blacks, with head coach Steve Hansen calling their facilities ‘outstanding’ and ‘one of the best in the world’.”

The Rugby League World Cup 2021 bid is being put together by the Tees Valley Combined Authority, Darlington Mowden Park RFC, Middlesbrough FC and Middlesbrough Council.

The 2017 Rugby League World Cup saw hosts Australia beat England 6-0 to come out as champions.