European Rugby League have released their first statement since the announcement that France will no longer host the 2025 Rugby League World Cup.
The World Cup organisers broke the news yesterday on the 15th May with the update being that International Rugby League would convene on the 17th to discuss matters.
IRL chair Troy Grant said the decision was very disappointing.
“It’s difficult to express how disappointed I am with this news,” he said.
“There’s no secret as to how important the strengthening of France as a rugby league nation is to our global game and central to our strategic plans.
“The Rugby League World Cup in France in 2025 was always an ambitious project given the unprecedented short lead in time due to the pandemic, however it had the advantage of following and leveraging off the widely acknowledged RLWC2021 success.”
ERL Chair Dean Andrew has now had his say and is incredibly supportive of the French Federation despite the fall through of their 2025 tournament.
“While the withdrawal of French government support for the Rugby League World Cup 2025 is understandable, it still comes as a huge disappointment,” he acknowledged. “French Rugby League is entering a new era under the dynamic leadership of its president Luc Lacoste and RLWC2025 was a significant milestone in that process.
“I would like to acknowledge the exceptional work that Luc and his World Cup team have invested in trying to bring the project to fruition under the most difficult of economic circumstances. The plans for the tournament were excellent, but against the global financial climate securing the necessary support proved impossible.
“The French Rugby League Federation play an incredibly important role in European rugby league and having seen their future plans I hope that their ambitions and desire to continue to grow and develop the sport in France are not dampened by this set back, and we look forward to continuing to support them.”
The tournament has fallen through after a change of government with the incoming government “uncertain” over the profitability of the event.
French commentator Rodolphe Pires had spoken with Andrew Voss about the possibility that France hosting the Union World Cup this year and the Summer Olympics in 2024 could have been a contributing factor.