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Number of teams in the World Cup could be significantly reduced

The next Rugby League World Cup was plunged into huge jeopardy this week.

This is because it was announced on Monday that France could no longer host the tournament meaning there is a huge question mark over where and when it will be held.

Wednesday was a vital day in deciding what comes next. This was because the Board of International Rugby League, with representatives from the RFL appearing, is set to discuss next steps today.

Ahead of this, IRL chair Troy Grant said: “The board meets face to face in July and we will then be able to determine together our next steps forward and consider the other bids we have received for not only 2025, but 2029, 2033 and World Cup 9s events in the future.

“Exciting international content for 2023 and 2024, in addition to the recent historic Tongan tour to England, will be announced publicly shortly, which will be the front end of our much needed and highly anticipated calendar.”

The meeting concluded that there were five countries interested in hosting the tournament as per Sky Sports: Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, South Africa and Qatar.

Meanwhile there has also been talk that the tournament could be pushed back to 2026.

However, according to Australian reports, the tournament could also be reduced to 10 or 12 teams.

This would undoubtedly be disappointing, especially for the nations that miss out but also because it comes after the biggest World Cup ever as the tournament finally reached 16 teams.

It remains to be seen what actions the IRL will take with the tournament with some big decisions ahead.

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