ANALYSIS – It is official, the French Rugby League will host the 2025 Rugby League World Cup (including both men and women). They have hosted the Rugby League World Cup in 1954, 1972, 2000, and 2013. However, the last time France hosted a Rugby League World Cup as the lone host was in 1972.
French Rugby League will host the 2025 Rugby League World Cup
👏 The Rugby Football League today congratulates the Federation Francaise de Rugby a XIII following confirmation that France is to stage the 17th Rugby League World Cup in 2025… 🇫🇷
— Rugby Football League (@TheRFL) January 11, 2022
Ralph Rimmer, the Chief Executive of the RFL, has also been a member of the International Rugby League Sub-Committee. This is what he said about the France bid according to the Rugby Football League:
“With Rugby League in France enjoying a golden year in 2021, their Wheelchair team ranked number one in the world, and Toulouse Olympique joining the Catalans Dragons in the forthcoming Betfred Super League season, this is another major boost to Rugby League in Europe and the Northern Hemisphere.”
As the sole host, France hosted the Rugby World Cup twice, this was in 1954 and 1972. Yes, there is a rugby league stronghold in the French region of Occitanie. However, 2025 will mark a possible beginning to grow the game outside of the traditional rugby league powerhouses. This year will also be the first time ever that there will be two French Betfred Super League teams. This is a remarkable achievement considering twenty-five years ago, Paris St-Germain Rugby League, France’s first-ever Super League team, folded.
An update on a French Super League TV dealhttps://t.co/kNxqzhayfW
— Rugby League Live (@RugbyLeagueLiv2) January 10, 2022
Additionally, a World Cup of this magnitude could mean more French cities getting rugby league teams in the RFL system. There is a plan to try to get a Super League TV deal in France. With both Toulouse and Perpignan in Super League, it could prove a pivotal way to grow the game of rugby league in France.
2025 Rugby League Cup is just one step to growing the game
Troy Grant: "My personal opinion is that the 2029 Rugby League World Cup should be held in North America but there is a lot of work to be done before then…"
— Toulouse/Catalan Media 🇫🇷🏉 (@catalanmedia) March 30, 2021
The 2025 Rugby League World Cup in France is just one step in the right direction. It is also part of a wider effort to grow the game of rugby league. The plan now should be to get a World Cup in North America, specifically Canada and the U.S.
For this to happen, the most important thing is for the NARL and the CCCRL to survive and thrive from now to 2029. Both leagues are set to play their inaugural season. However, keep in mind that the CCCRL will play all their home games in Toronto this year. Next year, they will start their season in six different Canadian cities in five different provinces. The success of those two leagues is by far the most important for North America to get the 2029 Rugby League World Cup.
Also, getting a TV contract is also important. This might be easier to get done in Canada than in the U.S. One reason is that the Toronto Wolfpack is back and has huge fan support. Also, even with the Ottawa Aces XIII permanently moving to England, it has created core support of rugby league supporters in Ottawa.
Other initiatives and final thoughts on the World Cup hosts
There have also been other initiatives. One is that current RLIF president Troy Grant wants the Rugby League World Cup to be in Australia in 2032. This is according to Mike Rowbottom of Main Press Centre. Also, according to Michael Pavitt of Inside the Games, this is what RLIF president Grant said:
“The pinnacle would be to get nines into the Olympics or the Commonwealth Games,” Grant said.
Rugby League (nines) is another version of the 13 players on each team. The CCCRL plans to have a pro men’s and women’s league playing in rugby league nines starting this year. There is certainly a possibility of Australia having rugby league in the Olympics. However, it is unlikely to be a permanent fixture in the Olympics. There is no harm in trying though. The Commonwealth Games though could work and become a permanent fixture in the games.
🏉 France will host the 2025 Rugby League World Cup, 71 years after hosting the inaugural tournament in 1954
🏆 The tournament will consist of four versions of the World Cup format; men's, women's, wheelchair and youth, and will take place across 40 cities
— BBC Sport Merseyside (@bbcmerseysport) January 11, 2022
The last point being made is that getting a 2025 Rugby League World Cup in France bodes well for a possible 2029 Rugby League World Cup in North America. It might also coincide with a 2029 Rugby World Cup (women’s rugby union) if the U.S. bid, which includes Vancouver, is successful in May of this year according to the Canadian Press.
There will also be a youth and wheelchair rugby league played in the Rugby League World Cup and it will be played across 40 cities in France. The coach of the French Rugby League team right now is Laurent Frayssinous, who was also a Head Coach of the Catalan Dragons (main picture seen above).
“Main photo credit”
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