French Federation president Luc Lacoste expects the number of clubs playing rugby league in his country to soon increase by 25 per cent as one of the positives of being awarded the 2025 Rugby League World Cup.
Prime Minister Jean Castex confirmed the destination of the 17th World Cup at yesterday’s press conference in Paris, which will be one of the 40 venues for an event that will run for five weeks from early October to mid-November 2025.
France, who hosted the first World Cup in 1954 but have not done so since 1972, won the race to stage the tournament after initial plans for a maiden event in North America were scrapped due to financial concerns.
It will be the third major sports event to be held in the country in consecutive years, following rugby union’s World Cup in 2023 and the Olympics in Paris in 2024.
Lacoste said: “This is a dream come true.
“We’ve been waiting for this for 50 years.
“But it is more than a dream; it is a great opportunity for our sport.
“This project will be an accelerator for the Federation’s transformation plan. It will increase the presence of rugby league in the new regions.
“By 2026 we expect an increase in the number of clubs of 25 per cent.
“In six years’ time we are expecting the number of women playing rugby league to be multiplied by four and young boys and girls will be seeing new heroes on TV screens.”
It is the first time the men’s, women’s, wheelchair and youth World Cups will be held simultaneously, organisers aiming to sell 822,000 tickets for the 128 matches across all four events.
They have also promised to deliver a low carbon tournament with 90 per cent of the games held in mid-sized towns with a focus on accessibility and affordability and an average ticket price of under £25.
“France 2025 will be the people’s competition,” said Michel Wiener, the tournament’s managing director. “This event will be a great public celebration that will showcase the diversity of our country’s regions.”