France awarded 2025 Rugby League World Cup

The Rugby League World Cup will take place in France in 2025, the French Rugby League federation have confirmed.

A launch will be held next Tuesday (11th January) in Paris and opened by the French Prime Minister Jean Castex, when full details for the World Cup will be revealed.

The tournament is set to be the 17th edition of the Rugby League World Cup, returning to the country where the very first was held in 1954.

France hosted a second time in 1972 and also staged some matches in the pan-European 2000 tournament.

The International Rugby League (IRL) board stated their intentions in March last year to take the World Cup back to France, and their bid was officially launched in July.

That bid stated an intention to have four competitions running as one event, with “World Cups of men, women, wheelchair athletes and young people”, and 16 teams in each competition.

The Rugby League World Cup will be the third major sports event held in France in consecutive years, following the rugby union equivalent in 2023 and the Olympics in Paris in 2024.

The award also continues a wave of optimism for French Rugby League after a 2020 season which saw Catalans Dragons reach their first Grand Final and Toulouse Olympique promoted to Super League, while the French wheelchair team will be the favourites to win the World Cup in England this autumn.

Initially, the 2025 tournament looked set to be the first played in North America, with the United States and Canada awarded the tournament in 2016.

However, two years later these plans were scrapped due to financial concerns and the bidding process was reopened.

Instead the competition will now return to its birthplace, having been the brainchild of former French rugby president Paul Barrière, whose name now adorns the trophy.

France were beaten in the inaugural final by Great Britain in Paris and have reached one other final since, losing to Australia in Sydney in 1968.

The country will host the tournament three years after England hold the delayed 2021 tournament, which will take place later this year from 15th October to 19th November.