France will host the Rugby League World Cup for the third time when the tournament returns to its origins in 2025.
Here’s everything you need to know about the competitions, where matches will be played and the potential impact on French Rugby League…
How will the competitions work?
After this year’s World Cup in England features three competitions involving men, women and wheelchair athletes, France plan to go one better by adding a fourth event: a youth competition for Under-19s.
The four competitions will add up to a total of 128 matches, involving 64 national teams, with the World Cup running for five weeks from October through to the end of November 2025.
Where will matches be played?
The competition will take place in 40 cities across France, with a focus on medium-sized cities spread across the regions for the vast majority of games, although the semi-finals and finals will be in major cities.
So far, 38 locations have expressed their interest in hosting either matches or base camps in the tournament, including Paris, Toulouse and even Vichy.
The full list is: Albi, Arras, Autun, Beauvais, Blagnac, Bègles, Besancon, Biganos, Bordeaux, Boulazac, Carcassonne, Chambéry, Chatillon, Issoire, Le Creusot, Le Mans, Libourne, Limoges, Limoux, Lourdes, Marmande-Tonneins, Martigues, Massy, Montauban, Montluçon, Narbonne, Nice, Paris, Périgueux, Perpignan, Pia, Roanne, Salon-de-Provence, Toulouse, Trélissac, Vannes, Vichy, Villefranche-de-Rouergue, Villeneuve-sur-Lot.
The final selection of host cities and base camps will be announced in the second half of 2022.
When will tickets be available?
Organisers aim to sell nearly 1 million tickets for the World Cup, with 100,000 supporters expected to travel to France from around the world.
Tickets will begin to go on sale by the end of 2023, with an average ticket price of less than 30 euros to make it “the people’s competition”.
What impact will it have on French Rugby League?
Luc Lacoste, the president of the French Rugby League Federation, has emphasised the part that the World Cup must play in growing the game as a whole in the country.
“The 2025 World Cup is neither an end in itself, nor a start, but a waypoint,” he said.
“The World Cup will be an accelerator for the transformation plan of French Rugby League Federation. A plan that aims to grow our sport, not only with more federation members, in more clubs and in more cities, but both professionally and diffusely as well.”
By 2027, they aim to triple the number of federation members from 13,000 in 2021 to 39,000, and increase the number of clubs from 170 to 200.
As well as aiming for an almost fivefold increase in the number of women’s sections and a tripling of the number of wheelchair sections in France by 2027, they also aim for a threefold increase in youth Rugby League sections in the country, from 80 currently to 240.