Qatar Joins the 2025 Rugby League World Cup Bids

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Following France’s withdrawal as hosts for the next Rugby League World Cup, four nations, including Qatar, have expressed their interest in staging the event.

In a recent development, the organizing committee has announced that the tournament scheduled for 2025 will not be taking place. The reason behind this decision is the failure to meet the financial criteria set by the French government. This has put the event at risk of incurring a deficit.

In response to the recent developments, the International Rugby League board convened an emergency meeting on Wednesday to devise a plan for securing a new host. A verdict on the matter is anticipated to be reached in July. According to the body’s chair, Troy Grant, four nations have already shown interest in taking over from France. Among these nations is Qatar, which recently hosted the men’s football World Cup.

According to Grant, several countries including New Zealand, South Africa, and Fiji have expressed interest in hosting the tournament. However, Grant emphasized that all options are being considered, including the possibility of postponing the event until 2026 or canceling it altogether and focusing on the 2029 tournament.

Grant stated that each expression of interest will be directed to the committee and all options will be presented, with proper due diligence being conducted. The size of the tournament will significantly impact our actions, as stated by the individual.

He also explained, there exists a possibility to break away from the current cycle and establish a fresh one. They stated that all options are being considered. At this stage, anything is possible. According to sources, time is of the essence and swift action is imperative. As such, all possible courses of action are being considered.

In recent years, Qatar has significantly increased its involvement and investment in major sporting events and organizations. The global spotlight was on the Arab nation as it hosted the Fifa World Cup last year. In recent news, Manchester United has received an upgraded bid from Qatari billionaire, Sheikh Jassim bin Hamad al-Thani, for the purchase of the football club. In the world of football, it has been revealed that Paris Saint-Germain is a subsidiary of the Qatari state-owned sovereign wealth fund, through its shareholding organization Qatar Sports Investment. In addition to the upcoming events, the gulf state has been selected to host the under-19s Asian Cup next year and the 2030 Asian Games.

Qatar’s potential bid to introduce rugby league to the Middle East could be considered one of its most intriguing endeavors to date. Grant was tight-lipped about Qatar’s initial expression of interest. However, he did acknowledge that the scorching temperatures during the tournament’s probable schedule in October and November could play a role in the decision-making process.

When asked about the temperatures in the area, he responded, “I haven’t looked at them.” According to the source, the proposed event would take place slightly earlier than the football season, which could pose challenging seasonal conditions. These are the factors that need to be taken into consideration. There is currently no obligation for us to give any expression of interest the credit it deserves. No assessment has been made regarding their viability, according to the source.

The Rugby League World Cup held in England last year was a resounding success as it featured simultaneous tournaments for men, women, and wheelchair players. France had intended to follow suit, incorporating a youth tournament into their plans. Grant has acknowledged that replicating the multi-tournament format of the World Cup, if it were to be held in 2025, would pose a significant challenge due to the limited time available for effectively repackaging and rebuilding the event in a different country within just over two years.

According to him, the record investment was drawn by the novelty of three World Cups being held simultaneously. According to Grant, their sport is the only one that has conducted their World Cup format in this manner, setting them apart from other sports. The speaker acknowledged the significance of the strategy as a major selling point. However, they emphasized the need for practicality in making future decisions.

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