Northern Ireland will miss out on the chance to host a round of the World Rally Championship after concerns were raised over its funding.

The organisers confirmed that the event will not take place, meaning no UK WRC event for the second season running after 2020's Rally of Wales was cancelled because of Covid-19.

A championship rally was last held on the island of Ireland in 2009 and was won by Sébastien Loeb.

Belgium will make its debut on the calendar by taking the August slot vacated by the proposed Northern Irish leg. Renties Ypres Rally Belgium will take place on asphalt on dates to be confirmed.

Rally Northern Ireland promoter Bobby Willis said: "Tourism Northern Ireland recognises that hosting Rally Northern Ireland in 2021 represented a positive opportunity to profile the region globally and would serve to celebrate Northern Ireland’s motorsport heritage.

"However, it feels Covid-19 could diminish the substantial economic benefits WRC historically bestows upon its host regions, and therefore investment would not represent best value for public money at this time.

"We must accept the situation for 2021 and focus on our discussions to explore the avenues for 2022."

Jona Siebel, managing director of WRC Promoter, the commercial rights holder for the championship, added: "It’s sad the WRC will not enjoy the beauty of Northern Ireland this year, but the pandemic continues to impact the global economy.

"Our enthusiasm for a WRC round there remains strong and we look forward to continuing our discussions for 2022."