The French Rugby League Federation has announced it will officially launch a bid to host the 2025 Rugby League World Cup.
The federation declared its intention after being nominated by the International Rugby League, the sport’s governing body, as its preferred host earlier this year.
The prospective bid has received the necessary backing and approval from the French government.
A final decision on the host nation is expected to be made later this year.
France emerged as the favoured destination for the RLWC in 2025 after the tournament was stripped from North America over two years ago because of financial problems with the would-be promoter.
France has staged the tournament on two previous occasions, including the first-ever edition in 1954, but it has not hosted it in its entirety since 1972.
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The country is already due to host rugby union’s Rugby World Cup in 2023, and the Paris Olympic Games in 2024.
The French Rugby League Federation has appointed Michel Wiener as executive director of the organising committee, a marketing and communications specialist who has 33 years of experience as chief executive of La Poste, the country’s postal service company.
The organising committee will also feature experienced sport marketing executive Soisic Le Bourg, Robert Zarader, a business and communications director and member of the GIP board of France 2023, and Dominique Baloup, a former captain of the French rugby league team.
Luc Lacoste, the French Rugby League Federation president, said: “After the 2024 Paris Olympics, we are preparing for the Rugby League World Cup in 2025 with a major bid that brings together the men's, women's, wheelchair and youth events.
“At the heart of this great project is a strong message, 'sport for all' which will be reflected, first and foremost, in the choice of host cities and regional metropolitan partners, stadiums, large and small, as well as affordable prices. We will lever the economic and tourist attractiveness of the country as well as a societal and environmental dimension.”
The 2025 RLWC will follow the same format as this year’s edition due to take place in October and November in England, with the men’s, women’s, and wheelchair tournaments to be staged simultaneously, with a total of 64 national teams.
Soon after being installed as chairman of the IRL earlier this year to replace Greg Barclay, Troy Grant said that strengthening the game in France is a "strategic priority" and the IRL would look to organise its tournament in the country in 2025.
The ambition is for USA to stage the RLWC in 2029 as the federation looks to untap the potential in the region.
USA-Canada had bid unsuccessfully against England for the 2021 event, but the IRL announced in November 2016 that North America would stage the 2025 edition, with the federation describing the decision at the time as "an historic moment in the global development of rugby league".
Moore Sports International, a sports marketing and event management company, backed the North American bid and was promoting the 2025 tournament, but concerns over the World Cup were raised in late 2018 when Moore failed to pay New Zealand Rugby League the agreed sum for a New Zealand versus England test match in Denver in June of that year.