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Brian Carney slams rugby league’s “collective amnesia” as it pretends to have an international game

It was confirmed this week that the 2025 World Cup would not be held in France.

This was a huge blow to the tournament and international rugby league.

It has been discussed what to do next with the likes of New Zealand and even Qatar expected to put in bids to host the tournament.

However, it is still not an easy situation and Sky Sports pundit and former Wigan Warriors star Brian Carney has emphasised his disappointment at the situation.

“When you think about a sport, handing a World Cup to America with the flimsiest of foundations and then it goes to France and they declined yesterday to go ahead with the tournament,” he said on TalkSport.

“Unfortunately, it’s the pulling back of the curtain on the international rugby league Wizard of Oz yet again.

“It’s financially secure, the game is financially secure on the eastern seaboard of Australia. It’s incredibly popular, if you’ve never been down there and had a chance to experience it, it’s akin to Premier League football.

“Not obviously in the ultimate financial rewards, but in terms of profile, that’s how Rugby League is. It is that popular and successful on the eastern seaboard of Australia.

“Nowhere else in the world is it financially secure. Certainly not in Ireland, in Wales, in Jamaica, in Greece, in Serbia, in Brazil.”

He then slammed the sport’s collective amnesia when it comes to pretending we have an international scene:

“Every four years we park and adopt this collective amnesia and say, ‘yeah, all’s good, all’s good, we’ve got an international game in Greece, in Serbia, in Jamaica, in Ireland and we’ll put a World Cup on’.

“Unfortunately, the reality is so far removed from that, that when the rubber hits the road and the French organizing committee are asked to meet some stipulations put forward by the government of France after a three-month extension, they’re not able to do it.

“The sport, unfortunately, isn’t popular enough to attract major commercial sponsorships or commitments from governments.

“We were very lucky with the last World Cup over here, back in 2015 with the Northern Powerhouse money that morphed into the levelling up fund, the government handed over £25 million of taxpayers’ money that made the tournament in this country, the birthplace of Rugby League possible.

“Were it not for the taxpayer money, the competition could not have gone ahead and would not have been in any way viable.”

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