Rugby League: NZRL interested in co-hosting 2025 World Cup in New Zealand

NZRL is "exploring the possibility" of New Zealand hosting the 2025 Rugby League World Cup, after France pulled out of staging the tournament.

France won the bid to host the event in January 2022, but organisers have confirmed they have dropped out after failing to meet the financial criteria.

Instead, NZRL boss Greg Peters has thrown New Zealand into the mix to stage the World Cup, alongside Australia and another Pacific Island nation, as they did in 2017.

"We are exploring the possibility of a Southern Hemisphere RLWC as an alternative to France 2025," he said.

"We're keen to work with ARLC to host the tournament in NZ and Australia and have started the conversations. 

"Bringing the international tournament down under is an exciting proposition not only for the fans but our Indigenous and Pasifika communities."

The 2021 World Cup was hosted by England, with New Zealand acting as a venue just twice since 1988, with the final played at Eden Park.

Should New Zealand and Australia be named new hosts, it will be the first time since 2017, with Papua New Guinea also included on that occasion.

Peters confirmed they'd again explore the possibility of involving another Pasifika nation as a co-host.

"It's entirely possible that I might play games around the Pacific," he said.

"There's no reason why we can't extend that and take, for example, the Tonga and Samoa teams back to their home fanbases.

"That would be pretty special."

International Rugby League (IRL) expects to be able to inform member nations of planned qualifying matches and alternative fixtures by July.

"The French government, particularly the Sports Minister Amelie Oudea-Castera, supported the bid team financially and granted additional time to meet benchmarks...," IRL chair Troy Grant said in a statement.

"I respect the French government's decision amid the challenges they are facing but I can't hide my disappointment, which I conveyed clearly to them in person.

"Despite our focus having been on France, we will now accelerate our consideration of other contingency options."

France will host this year's Rugby World Cup beginning in September.