Reigning World Cup champions New Zealand are now hosting the tournament in 2022

World Rugby has pledged £2m to help teams prepare for the World Cup after confirming the postponement of the tournament until 2022.

The organisation’s executive committee ratified the decision on Tuesday but endorsed the funding of a “high performance preparation” programme.

World Rugby said the focus would be on providing teams with international competition before the tournament.

New Zealand is set to host the event but a new date is yet to be announced.

Rugby’s governing body cited travel risks, uncertainty around teams’ ability to prepare adequately during the coronavirus pandemic and challenges in completing the qualification process as some reasons to postpone the tournament in New Zealand.

World Rugby chairman Sir Bill Beaumont said: “Our hearts go out to all the players, team personnel and fans who were preparing and looking forward to Rugby World Cup 2021.

“We recognise that they will be extremely disappointed, but I would like to assure them that the decision to postpone has been made entirely in the interests of their welfare, wellbeing and preparation and the desire to put on a showcase tournament that will super-charge women’s rugby globally.”