‘Preferred hosts’ France to bid for 2025 Rugby League World Cup

France has officially declared its intention to bid for the 2025 Rugby League World Cup after being nominated by the International Rugby League (IRL) as its “preferred hosts”.

The mandate allows the French Federation a period of time to work with IRL and the French government to prepare and assess a business plan, and Federation president Luc Lacoste outlined his message of “sport for all” at a media video conference on Thursday afternoon.

“After the 2024 Paris Olympics, we are preparing for the Rugby League World Cup in 2025 with a major bid that brings together the men’s, women’s, wheelchair and youth events,” he said.

“At the heart of this great project is a strong message, ‘sport for all’, which will be reflected, first and foremost, in the choice of host cities and regional metropolitan partners, stadiums, large and small, as well as affordable prices.

“We will lever the economic and tourist attractiveness of the country as well as a societal and environmental dimension.”

Organisers intend to include 64 national teams with 16 in each competition, representing the five continents and encompassing more than 80 matches.

The organising committee will be led by Michel Weiner, director of development for major events at La Poste, who will be joined by Soisic Le Bourg, an experienced marketing and commercial director, and Robert Zarader, an expert in public affairs and communication.

They will be supported by Lacoste and former French captain and current secretary general of the federation Dominique Baloup.

IRL secretary general Danny Kazandjian, who with Lacoste made an initial presentation to the French government, said: “We are encouraged by their response and have agreed that France are the preferred candidates for the organisation of RLWC2025.

“We continue to support the development of a compelling business plan and presentation to the government, and we believe that, for many reasons, France will be able to deliver the largest World Cup ever.”

IRL has previously outlined its intention to announce the next hosts before the 2021 World Cup kicks off on October 23.

Organisers of the England-based tournament have yet to confirm its go-ahead as they await a commitment from Australia, but even if it was delayed until 2022, it is expected the next one will still be held in 2025.