The recently elected president of La Fédération Française de Rugby à XIII, Luc Lacoste, has welcomed the announcement by Troy Grant (pictured), the newly elected Chairman of International Rugby League (IRL), that efforts have begun to take the 2025 Rugby League World Cup tournament back to where it began in 1954.
Grant, speaking to the media to the media for the first time since his election, said that he felt that returning the World Cup to France was a “targeted, strategic priority”.
“I spoke to Australians who have had experience in the northern hemisphere and they have told me that our priority should be to regenerate the game in France,” said Grant, the former Deputy Premier of New South Wales.
“I’ve been working with the French government on hosting the 2025 World Cup in France. I pitched it to them. The Rugby World Cup in 2023 is in France, the Paris Olympics will take place in 2024. We are having a close look at the possibility of following those events with the Rugby League World Cup.”
Commenting on the process to get the World Cup in its entirety back to the nation for the first time since 1972, Lacoste noted: “It would be an extraordinary opportunity for French Rugby League, its development and its return among the great nations. France must do everything to regain its place in the history of this sport because it can give it a lot in return – and it would be easier if the organisation of the 2025 World Cup is possible.”
Lacoste confirmed that, whilst there has been a lot of worldwide support for the idea, initial discussions with the French government – who would be needed to back it – are at an early stage.
“Contacts have already been made by the IRL with the French government. There is a real will and desire to see France return to being a major player and the planets are aligned to move forward. We are only at the beginning, however, and nothing is decided at this stage.”