The International Rugby League is without a host for the 2025 World Cup after the France 2025 organizing committee was forced to withdraw from hosting the tournament.

The tournament was awarded to France after initial plans for it to be held in North America were scrapped. Organizers have been unable to meet financial criteria set out by the French government, leaving the event at risk of a deficit.

The tournament was to be staged during October and November 2025. The 2025 tournament in France was to consist of four versions of the World Cup format: men’s, women’s, wheelchair and youth.

“It’s difficult to express how disappointed I am with this news,” said IRL Chair Troy Grant. “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 IRL board will now consider other options for RLWC2025 while continuing work to finalize international fixtures for the 2023 and 2024 seasons. The IRL expects to be able to advise member nations of planned qualifying matches or alternative fixtures after July 2023.

“The board meets face to face in July and we will then be able to determine together our next steps forward and consider the other bids we have received for not only 2025, but 2029, 2033 and World Cup 9s events in the future,” Grant said.

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