Qatar confirmed as one of multiple Middle East nations keen to host a Rugby League World Cup

Yesterday International Rugby League unveiled their major plans for the next seven years as they announced details surrounding the Rugby League World Cup, the return of The Ashes as well as plans of an international calendar all the way until 2030.

The news came off the back of the IRL meeting in Singapore on Saturday with a statement on the IRL website officially confirming what had been planned, before hosting a press conference with the media.

The initial statement confirmed the headline news before posting the key points, as seen here:

“International Rugby League has agreed an International Calendar to 2030.
The return of the Ashes, with England Men and Women to tour Australia in 2025.

“Kangaroo and Kiwi tours to resume.

“International tours for other nations are back on the agenda.

“Dedicated Northern Hemisphere and Southern Hemisphere Tri-Nations and Four Nations tournaments.

“Greater emphasis on Regional Championships and World Cup qualifying process, including a new World Series to help nations develop.

“Men’s and Women’s games to grow under new International Calendar.

“Change to World Cups cycle, with the next World Cup for Men’s, Women’s and Wheelchair teams to be staged in 2026.

“A World Cup every two years, with a stand-alone Women’s World Cup in 2028, followed by the Men’s World Cup in 2030.

“No World Cup 9s in the calendar as IRL focuses on developing 13-a-side and Wheelchair games.”

The above was then outlined to the media with the opportunity for questions and it was asked whether the Qatar bid for the Rugby League World Cup was legitimate or not.

It had been reported in the immediate days after France pulled out of their role of hosting the tournament, with many questioning the legitimacy of it, but IRL Chair Troy Grant confirmed that there was real interest from Qatar and that remains the case.

“The Qatar bid is a real one but it’s just the timing of it so they’re still interested, just not for the not for this next one,” explained Grant.

“There’s been some significant discussions. So, they just withdrew for this World Cup but didn’t withdraw from other World Cups, so they’re still very interested, they just needed more time.

It was then noted by Danny Kazandjian who is the IRL Secretary General that the use of the term ‘bid’ was a stretch, but he also reaffirmed the interest from the Middle East to host a tournament.

“I would add to that Gary that I think it would be unfair to call it a bid. We’ve had, as the Chair said, legitimate conversations and dialogue with multiple countries, one of whom is Qatar, and that continues.

“But it’s more than one Middle Eastern country that’s interested in holding Rugby League international competitions in the future.”