Earlier this week, the French government announced that it has rescinded its decision to host the 2025 Rugby League World Cup.
The country cited financial reasons for the decision, saying it couldn’t guarantee it would make money by hosting the event.
France won a bid for the 2025 tournament in January 2022 and has spent the last year-and-a-half preparing. Officials needed an extra three months to determine ways to make the event financially viable, but ultimately couldn’t.
“I respect the French government’s decision amid the challenges they are facing, but I can’t hide my disappointment — that I conveyed clearly to them in person,” International Rugby League chair Troy Grant said in a statement.
The nation is currently embroiled in major political turmoil, as massive demonstrations have broken out across the country against the raising of the country’s retirement age and to voice general displeasure with president Emmanuel Macron.
Australia and New Zealand have both expressed interest in the difficult task of staging the 2025 Rugby League World Cup — but they’ll have about 18 months fewer to prepare than they normally would.
The countries did co-host the 2017 World Cup — and given the existing popularity of rugby in the two countries, the turnaround could be possible.