North America has been given the go-ahead to host the 2025 World Cup.
The Rugby League International Federation has endorsed the recommendation of its own board to take the 17th World Cup outside rugby league’s traditional heartland for the first time.
The RLIF directors suggested the USA and Canada host the 2025 tournament after overlooking them for the 2021 World Cup in favour of England.
RLIF chairman Nigel Wood, who is also chief executive of the Rugby Football League, said: “The award of the 2025 World Cup to North America is a historic moment in the global development of rugby league.
“The USA and Canada provides world class stadia allied to a significant multi cultural population which made the bid so persuasive.
“It is exciting that our sport is expanding into a new destination for our premier event the World Cup and we will work with our members in the USA and Canada and Moore Sports International to expand the presence of our sport in these countries during the lead in to the 2025 World Cup.
“The board will now work with Moore Sports International to complete the due diligence and exchange of contracts to complete the award.”
The decision was made at the RLIF annual meeting in Liverpool, where Wood and Australia’s John Grant were re-elected as chairman and deputy chairman respectively for the next two years.
The next step of the Federation is to complete the international calendar from 2018 onwards, with a crucial decision to be made on the future of the Four Nations Series.
RLIF chief executive David Collier said: “The decisions arising from our meetings in Liverpool have given fresh impetus to the global expansion of the sport and we look forward to an exciting year in 2017 with the World Cup less than a year away and tickets now on sale for the matches in Australia, New Zealand and Papua New Guinea.”