2025 RL World Cup tender process to be re-run after USA plans scrapped for now

RLIF chief executive Nigel Wood
RLIF chief executive Nigel Wood

The 2025 Rugby League World Cup is back on the market after initial plans to take it to the United States were scrapped - but it could still be held across the Atlantic, according to the game's international chief.

The Rugby League International Federation (RLIF) awarded the 17th World Cup more than two years ago to Sydney-based promoter Jason Moore, who unveiled grand plans to stage the tournament outside rugby league's traditional heartland for the first time.

Moore's proposals for a series of internationals to be played in the US in the run-up to 2025 were scrapped following the inaugural game in Denver which left both England and New Zealand out of pocket. He has now been stripped of the World Cup rights.

"The RLIF board has resolved that we have to take the rights back from Jason Moore and we have to run that tender process again to see who else is interested," RLIF chief executive Nigel Wood told the Press Association.

"That will happen in the second half of this year.

"It's gone back onto the market but that doesn't mean to say America or Canada are excluded - far from it.

"There have already been discussions with people who are interested in exploring how a World Cup would look in that continent.

"So there's every chance it could still happen but it depends on the quality of the applications."

The 2021 World Cup will be held in England while Australia and New Zealand will host all the major internationals in 2019.

The return of the Great Britain tour was announced this week, along with the expanded Oceania Cup, and Wood has confirmed the national team will play as England in the inaugural World Cup of Nines to be held in Sydney on the weekend of October 18-19.

With no time for a qualifying competition, Wood says entry to the inaugural 12-team event will initially be by invitation.

"We're in final discussions with the NRL who are the hosts," he said.

"You'd expect all the leading nations to be participating. We are down to a final 12 and we expect to announce the line-up within the next month or so."

Australia, who have traditionally dragged their heels when it comes to the international game, declined to host the Lions this year, although they will tour England as the Kangaroos in 2020

Wood believes the outlook for the world game is positive. He said: "I think we should be excited about what the international season looks like. It's an area that the sport has under-delivered upon historically.

"I do think all nations are positive towards it but I also recognise that where you've got significant professional competitions like in Australia, you have to balance the workload on players."

Wood says the RLIF is working on an enhanced women's and emerging nations calendar, and looking at organising a tournament for the Armed Forces in Gallipoli.

"We're working with Turkey Rugby League on that," he said. "We just think there may be a unique opportunity to bring together every nation that was represented during that World War One campaign."