2025 Rugby League World Cup in Doubt After France Pulls Out
The International Rugby League (IRL) has confirmed that the 2025 Rugby League World Cup, which was due to take place in France, is now in serious doubt.
This follows France‘s announcement that they will not be able to host the tournament due to funding cuts from the French government. Troy Grant, Chair of the IRL, commented: “The Rugby League World Cup in France in 2025 was always an ambitious project given the unprecedented short lead‑in time due to the pandemic.
However, it had the advantage of following and leveraging off the widely acknowledged RLWC2021 success. The factors that impacted on the bid team’s ability to complete the early structure of the tournament, such as the economic crisis and, in particular, inflationary pressure on host town council budgets, undermined their ability to secure adequate securities for the event to satisfy the government’s strict conditional benchmarks put forward from the beginning of the process for the tournament to proceed.
I respect the French government’s decision amid the challenges they are facing but I can’t hide my disappointment. We will now accelerate our consideration of other contingency options.” The IRL will now convene at a board meeting this summer to consider alternative options for host nations in 2025. This could include New Zealand or a possible joint bid from Pacific nations including Samoa and Tonga, though the latter is unlikely because of the logistical implications required to stage a tournament at such short notice.
It is also understood that England will almost certainly not bid, due to the significant government funding that helped to stage the tournament last year unlikely to be repeated again so soon.
The tournament was expected to be the biggest in history, played across 40 venues with men’s, women’s, wheelchair and youth events running alongside one another. But with such a short space of time until the event was due to take place, the prospect of the World Cup being pushed back to 2026 seems increasingly likely.