BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA - DECEMBER 02: David Klemmer of the Kangaroos looks on before the 2017 Rugby League World Cup Final between the Australian Kangaroos and England at Suncorp Stadium on December 2, 2017 in Brisbane, Australia. (Photo by Matt King/Getty Images)

Australia and New Zealand have confirmed they will not participate in the 2021 World Cup in England at season's end.

In a statement released on Thursday via NRL.comthe ARLC and NZRL revealed they would not compete in this year's tournament.

The two governing bodies stated that the welfare and safety concerns of their players remains as a top priority amid the global COVID-19 pandemic.

"The Australian Rugby League Commission (ARLC) and New Zealand Rugby League (NZRL) today informed the International Rugby League (IRL) and Rugby League World Cup (RLWC) organisers that Australia and New Zealand will not compete in a 2021 World Cup because of player welfare and safety concerns," the statement reads.

"The ARLC and NZRL has again requested the RLWC2021 be postponed until 2022 to minimise risk of players contracting COVID-19 and ensure the best outcome for player wellbeing.

"The decision to withdraw from the RLWC2021 comes after considering the risk of COVID-19 infection in the United Kingdom, the worsening environment in Australia and the time a majority of NRL Telstra Premiership players will spend away from home under strict biosecurity conditions prior to the World Cup. The ARLC and NZRL have resolved, that in the present environment the risks to athletes and officials travelling to the UK to participate in the tournament this year are too great, and it is unable to endorse Australia and New Zealand participating in the RLWC in 2021."

ARLC boss Peter V'landys stated that the risk in competing at the World Cup would strain the commission's principles and duty of care for its players and staff.

“Not participating in this year’s World Cup is not a decision the Commission has taken lightly, but we must put the best interests of our players and officials first. Protecting them is our absolute priority,’’ he said.

“In the current environment, the risks to the safety, health and wellbeing of the players and officials travelling from Australia to participate in the tournament this year are insurmountable.

"The majority of NRL players are currently living away from home under difficult biosecurity protocols. They would then be required to remain under protocols and away from home for the duration of the tournament before again quarantining on return to Australia. This is too much to ask our players and officials to do."

V'landys also revealed the commission's request to have the World Cup rescheduled to next year.

“We have again requested the IRL and Rugby League World Cup consider postponing the event until 2022 to enable all players to participate," V'landys added.