Rugby chiefs have prepared a World Cup 'plan B' in case a new stadium in Workington is delayed.

The 8,000-capacity sporting venue was a cornerstone of the borough council's successful bid to host three group stage matches at the 2021 Rugby League World Cup.

Doubts have been raised over the project's delivery with claims it is being "rushed" through ahead of the competition and May's election.

But council bosses insisted they were "confident" they would be able to meet the deadlines set out by event organisers and that contingency plans of this type were "normal".

The Rugby League World Cup has declined to share any details of the 'plan B' venue at this stage but has pledged to keep everyone updated.

Speaking at a recent question and answer forum, World Cup chief executive Jon Dutton said: "We have set some milestones and the consortium, led by the local authority, have to achieve those milestones.

"We are confident they will reach them, but we will have to work with them to achieve those milestones. Should the absolute worse happen, we have a backup stadium as part of our overall plan."

The project is yet to go before the council's planning panel for approval and Borough Park, home to Workington Reds, would have to be bulldozed before building work can start.

A spokesman from Allerdale Borough Council said: "The council's bid to host the Rugby League World Cup (RLWC) in 2021 included a fantastic new community stadium in Workington.

"A lot of work has been ongoing with partners at both clubs and the RLWC to get to where we are today, and we are confident we will be able to meet the milestones set down by the organisers of the event. Contingency planning by the organisers of this type is normal with any event like this."