After England hosts the World Cup this year, all eyes will turn to France for the 2025 tournament
France Prime Minister Jean Castex last week confirmed that they will be hosting the 17th Rugby League World Cup in 2025. The announcement was made in Paris, where the confirmation of government support towards a €59m budget has enabled the French rugby league federation to activate their bid. “The rooster you can see on top of the trophy is going to sing again in 2025,” proclaimed Castex.
Why is it being held in France?
The tournament had been provisionally promised to the USA only for the promoters behind that bid to collapse following the loss-making England v New Zealand Test in Denver in 2018. Desperate to avoid returning to Australia and New Zealand so soon after 2017, and fulfilling their policy of pursuing G7 markets, IRL chief Troy Grant knew France was the obvious option and provided “enormous potential”. He convinced Luc Lacoste, the president of the French rugby league federation, to take the baton and run.
Fans and sport angry after council U-turn on plan to house project in hotel where the sport began
More than 125 years ago, representatives of a number of rugby union clubs from the north of England gathered at the George hotel in Huddersfield. The meeting resulted in the formation of a new sport, known today as rugby league. Now a row between the local council and those wanting to honour the sport with a museum at the site of its formation threatens to overshadow the sport’s legacy.
The idea began harmoniously when, several years ago, leading rugby league charity Rugby League Cares announced plans to create a National Rugby League Museum. Towns and cities from across the sport’s traditional northern heartlands were invited to apply to host the project. Huddersfield won the bidding process in 2020, beating competition from the likes of Leeds, Bradford and Wigan, with the local Kirklees council offering the George as the venue for the new museum.
It was a deliberate offer with deep significance to the sport. The fact that Huddersfield’s bid was centred on the George was seen as crucial by many insiders as to why Kirklees council beat off competition from other towns and cities that were arguably better resourced to take on such a significant cultural project.