France pull the plug on staging rugby showcase



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France to withdraw bid to host Rugby League WC 2025 Image: Stade Yves-du-Manoir, ArnoDe4, CC BY-SA 3.0

France will not host the Rugby League World Cup in 2025, organizers said on May 15th, citing a failure to meet the financial criteria outlined by the French Government.

‘Reuters’ stated that France won the bid to host the 2025 World Cup in January 2022. The 2021 edition of the tournament was held in England (UK).

The Rugby League World Cup is an international rugby league tournament contested by the top national men’s representative teams. The tournament is administered by the International Rugby League and was first held in France in 1954, which was the first World Cup held for any form of rugby football.

The International Rugby League (IRL) is the global governing body for the sport of rugby league football. Previously known as the Rugby League Imperial Board, the International Rugby League Board and latterly the Rugby League International Federation, the IRL is responsible for the Laws of the Game, the development, organisation and governance of rugby leagues internationally, and for the sport’s major international tournaments, most notably the Rugby League World Cup.

‘Reuters’ quoted organizers as stating, “Despite all the work carried out by the organizing committee, it hasn’t been possible to fully secure the risk of a deficit. Despite the interest shown in this unique sport … the Board had to decide to renounce organizing 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, despite the search for solutions and the additional three months granted by the State to the organizing committee at the end of 2022.”

In a statement sent out on May 15th, the International Rugby League (IRL) said it expected to be able to inform member-nations of planned qualifying matches and alternative fixtures by July.

Observed Troy Grant, IRL Chair, “The French Government, particularly the Sports Minister Amelie Oudea-Castera, supported the bid team financially and granted additional time to meet benchmarks… I respect the French Government’s decision amid the challenges they are facing but I can’t hide my disappointment that I conveyed clearly to them in person. Despite our focus having been on France, we will now accelerate our consideration of other contingency options.”

France will host this year’s men’s rugby union World Cup from September 8th to October 28th.

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