France to Host 2025 RL World Cup

11th January 2022

Prime Minister Mr Jean Castex announced on Tuesday 11 January, 2022, that France will be the host country of the Rugby League World Cup, which will take place in 2025, in the presence of Ms. Roxana Maracineanu, Minister delegate for Sport. This announcement follows the signing between Hon. Troy Grant, President of the International Rugby League (IRL) and Michel Wiener, Managing Director of France 2025, of the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) attributing organisation of this World Cup to France. France 2025 will simultaneously bring together four competitions: women, men, wheelchair and youth. Inclusion is a value upheld by rugby league, which is why the format of this 17th edition of the World Cup will be completely new. The competition will take place in 40 cities across France, in particular in the medium-sized cities which make up the wealth of our regions: France 2025 will be the World Cup of the regions. Owing to facility capacity, major cities will be selected to hold the semi-finals and finals. Designed as an ecologically and economically responsible project, France 2025 will act as an accelerator for the economy, tourism, employment and vocational training, thanks to the direct and indirect benefits generated by organisation of the competition and the 2,000+ professional training opportunities which will be created by France 2025 between 2023 and 2025. These are the challenges and requirements of the country as well as its host regions for the World Cup, which were presented during an opening round table by Ms Caroline Cayeux, President of the Cities of France, Mr Kamel Chibli, Vice-President of the Regions of France, Mr Luc Lacoste, President of the French Rugby League Federation, Mr Claude Revel, President of GIE France Sport Expertise and Mr Thierry Teboul, Managing Director of AFDAS training agency. This event will be a great public celebration that will showcase the diversity of our country's regions. The delegations will arrive in October 2025 and the competition will run for five weeks until mid-November 2025. Starting at the end of 2023, nearly one million tickets will go on sale for the stadiums and arenas (where the wheelchair competitions will take place). 100,000 supporters from all over the world are expected to follow France 2025. France 2025 will be the people's competition. The average price of a ticket will be less than 30 Euro, enabling all audiences to take part in this celebration. Organisation by France of this 2025 World Cup clearly reflects the new direction that French Rugby League has taken since the December 2020 election of Luc Lacoste as President of the French Federation. This election marks the desire of international bodies (IRL at a global level and ERL at a European level) to make France a new stronghold in the development strategy of rugby league worldwide.

"France is a land of major sporting events, which represent a tremendous asset for economic appeal and social cohesion in our regions. Hosting of the Rugby Union World Cup in 2023 and the Olympic and Paralympic Games in 2024 are spearheads of this policy, carried out jointly by the state and communities. The Rugby League World Cup, which will be organised in 2025 by France, is a great opportunity for the many regions and cities that wish to engage in this dynamic and I support it wholeheartedly." Jean Castex, Prime Minister “The rebirth of international rugby league in France has been a strategic goal of our sport for many decades and I am delighted that it will now become a reality through this award of the 2025 world cup to France. As the sport’s international federation, International Rugby League is so pleased to be able to bring the world cup home, to where it all began with the first world cup in 1954, and in keeping with that historic theme, for the very first time there will be four competitions - Men, Women, Wheelchair and Youth - truly a Rugby League World Cup for everyone, and for all of society. We are very grateful to the French government and all the regions, cities and towns for the strong support they have given to our outstanding French bid team and we can’t wait to welcome visitors from across the globe to this wonderful country, not only to share our exciting & accessible sport but also to enjoy world class tourism, rich cultural experiences and the unique atmosphere of France and its people.

"This 2025 world cup journey will allow us to build on the already strong bond that exists between rugby league and France, but also to deepen rugby league’s presence in and throughout the country. As a sport, we are proud to complete a trifecta of major world sporting events in this magnificent French decade of sport and help celebrate a wonderful, proud and dynamic nation through an unforgettable celebration of rugby league”. Troy Grant, Chair International Rugby League With this announcement of the return of the Rugby League World Cup to its homeland of France, it is wonderful news that is shaping up today for our sport, the French Rugby League Federation, and especially for the clubs, managers, members and volunteers. We are extremely proud for them to see this magnificent event being launched today. First and foremost, it belongs to them. What a journey we have taken in less than a year. It was a commitment to the world of French rugby league; it is now becoming a reality. The very design of the project opens up great prospects for the development of this sport in multiple regions and with a large and diverse audience.

"I would like to thank all the teams who participated in the development of this project and, first and foremost, its Executive Director, Michel Wiener. I would also like to thank the IRL Steering Committee, represented by its President, Troy Grant, for its confidence in our project. Finally, we would like to thank the French Government for its support as well as the regions of France and the local authorities who have already come forward to organise this wonderful event alongside France 2025." Together, we will make France 2025 a huge success. The story starts today." Luc Lacoste, President of the French Rugby League Federation

IRL announces RLWC2025 Qualifying Framework

14th July 2022

nternational Rugby League has finalised the qualification framework for the 2025 Men’s, Women’s and Wheelchair IRL Rugby League World Cups to be staged concurrently in France. The qualifying process for the 2025 Youth World Cup to be played alongside the Men’s, Women’s and Wheelchair tournaments will be announced in 2023. In what will be the biggest qualifying event in IRL Rugby League World Cup history, a total of 46 national teams will be involved in qualifying competitions for the Men’s and Women’s tournaments. These include 20 women’s teams who will contest international rugby league’s first Women’s qualifying competition for the eight remaining positions at RLWC2025. Russia is currently suspended from international rugby league. A decision will be made in December on whether Russia can participate in the Men’s and Women’s European qualifying tournaments next year. There are 16 available berths in each of the four tournaments – Men’s, Women’s Wheelchair and Youth (under 19s).

France, as the host nation, automatically qualifies for all four World Cups. The eight Men’s quarter-finalists and all eight Women’s teams from RLWC2021, to be played in England later this year, are also given automatic entry into the 2025 World Cup, with the remaining eight spots in each tournament up for grabs. An expression of interest and invitation process will be used to determine the 16 Wheelchair finalists.

IRL chair Troy Grant said: "When the inaugural Rugby League World Cup was hosted by France in 1954 it comprised of just four teams, but when the World Cup returns to France in 2025 there will be four tournaments – Men, Women, Wheelchair and Youth – and each will comprise of 16 teams. France 2025 will be the biggest and boldest Rugby League World Cup and the impact can already be seen, with a record number of nations and teams involved in a detailed and meaningful qualifying process for World Cup berths. The growth of Women’s rugby league since the 2017 World Cup has been phenomenal and for the first time there will be qualifying tournaments for places at France 2025, while the number of nations wanting to participate in the Wheelchair World Cup is exciting and encouraging. The Youth World Cup presents an opportunity for nations to identify and harness emerging talent who may go on to form the nucleus of their senior international teams in future years and it is great to hear that some nations are beginning preparations in this area. The RLWC2025 qualifying process will be the most keenly contested in the game’s history and highlights the enormous growth and opportunities for international rugby league."

MEN’S WORLD CUP

All eight quarter-finalists at RLWC2021 automatically qualify for RLWC2025. The regional berth allocation, confirmed in March, is:

  • EUROPE (6-8 berths)
  • ASIA-PACIFIC (5-7 berths)
  • AMERICAS (2 berths)
  • MIDDLE EAST/AFRICA (1-2 berths)

    Europe Qualifying Process

    The format of a Europe qualifying tournament in 2024, if required, can only be determined after the RLWC2021 quarter-finalists are known, but the following preliminary competitions will be played in 2023:

    European Championship A (England, France, Ireland, Italy, Scotland, Serbia, Spain and Wales – in two groups of four) will, if required, act as a direct qualification event to France 2025 and/or a route to the 2024 European qualifying tournament, if one is required. The winner of the European Championship B (Germany, Greece, Netherlands, Norway, Russia, Ukraine – in two groups of three) will advance to the 2024 European qualifying tournament, if one is required, or to an inter-regional repechage, if a Europe-only qualifying tournament is not required. The qualifying process has already begun with the 2021 European Championship D in Turkey. Netherlands won and have advanced to the European Championship B, with Czech Republic, Malta and Turkey eliminated. However, if Russia does not participate in European Championship B, Czech Republic will take its place as the 2021 European Championship D runner-up.

    Asia Pacific Qualifying Process

    All seven eligible Asia Pacific nations are involved in this year’s world cup. As a result, no qualification competition can be confirmed until the RLWC2021 quarter-finalists are known.

    Americas Qualifying Process

    Qualifying tournament: 2023 Americas Championship. Qualifying will begin this year, with the highest placed finisher from Brazil or Chile in the 2022 South American Championship in Colombia progressing to the 2023 Americas Championship, joining Canada, Jamaica and USA. (Colombia, as an observer member, is ineligible for RLWC qualification) Should Jamaica be a RLWC2021 quarter-finalist the highest placed finisher from the other three nations will qualify for France 2025 Should Jamaica not reach this year’s quarter-finals, the two finalists in Americas qualifying tournament 2023 will qualify directly for France 2025.

    Middle East / Africa Qualify Process

    Qualifying tournament: MEA Cup 2023. Qualifying will begin this year, with the two highest placed finishers from Cameroon, Ghana, Morocco and Nigeria in the MEA Championship in Accra progressing to meet Lebanon and South Africa in the MEA Cup 2023. Should Lebanon be a RLWC2021 quarter-finalist the highest placed finisher from the other three MEA Cup 2023 participants will enter a inter-regional repechage in 2024 for the final berth at France 2025 Should Lebanon not reach this year’s quarter-finals, the 2023 MEA Cup winner will qualify directly for France 2025

    WOMEN’S WORLD CUP

    All eight teams competing at RLWC2021 automatically qualify (subject to satisfying IRL development guidelines that are aimed at growing the women’s game in their country). The regional berth allocation, confirmed in March, is:

  • ASIA-PACIFIC (6 berths)
  • EUROPE (6 berths)
  • AMERICAS (3 berths)
  • MIDDLE EAST AFRICA (1 berth)

    Asia Pacific Qualifying Process

    Fiji, Samoa and Tonga will play each other in 2024 in the Asia Pacific Qualifying Tournament, with the two highest placed teams joining Australia, Cook Islands, New Zealand and Papua New Guinea in RLWC2025

    Europe Qualifying process

    In the Europe Qualifying Tournament, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Malta, Russia, Serbia, Turkey and Wales will play in two groups of four in 2023, with the two highest placed finishers from each group qualifying for RLWC2025.

    Americas Qualifying Process

    Chile, Jamaica and USA will play each other in 2024 in the Americas Qualifying Tournament, with the winner joining Brazil and Canada in RLWC2025

    Middle East / Africa Qualifying process

    In the Middle East Africa Qualifying Tournament in 2024, Cameroon, Ghana, Lebanon, Morocco, Nigeria and South Africa will play in two groups of three followed by a final round, where Group A teams will play the corresponding finisher from Group B, with the competition winner qualifying for 2025

    WHEELCHAIR WORLD CUP

    An expression of interest and invitation process will be used to determine the 16 finalists Those 16 finalists will be selected by the end of 2024 No determination has been made on regional berth allocation


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