Rugby League: France withdraw from hosting 2025 Rugby League World Cup

Gilbert Rugby Ball being placed for a penalty

The future of international Rugby League has been plunged into chaos after France withdrew from hosting the 2025 Rugby League World Cup due to financial concerns.

The organisers of the tournament announced their withdrawal on Monday, citing the risk of incurring a deficit as the motivating factor behind the difficult decision.

“The board had to decide to renounce organising this major international competition, which the International Rugby League had entrusted to France. The conditions of financial viability, initially defined by the State to support the project, set in January 2022, were not fully met,” read a press release.

“The decision was taken so as not to threaten the robustness of the major international sporting event models that France now wishes to promote,” it continued.

“I can’t hide my disappointment”

The International Rugby League (IRL) chief Troy Grant didn’t mask his feelings on France’s decision. “I respect the French government’s decision amid the challenges they are facing, but I can’t hide my disappointment, which I conveyed clearly to them in person. Despite our focus having been on France, we will now accelerate our consideration of other contingency options,” said Grant.

Sky Sports News have cited Australia and New Zealand as potential alternative hosts for the tournament, which is set to take place during October and November 2025.

Despite pulling out of hosting the Rugby League World Cup, France will still host the Rugby World Cup, which will take place later this year. Nice are set to host four Group Stage matches, with England, Wales and Scotland all set to feature at the Allianz Riviera in September.

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Photo by Fanny Schertzer