The eight quarter-finalists from this year’s Men’s World Cup will gain automatic entry to the next World Cup in France 2025, after the qualification places were confirmed by the IRL.
The qualifiers will include up to 27 nations, a 50% increase compared to the 2021 World Cup.
All four competitions – men, women, wheelchair and youth – will feature 16 teams in 2025.
For the men, that means between six and eight teams from Europe, between five and seven from Asia Pacific, two from the Americas and one or two from Middle East Africa.
Qualifying first for Women’s World Cup
All eight of the nations competing at the 2021 Women’s World Cup will automatically qualify for 2025.
For the first time, there will be a qualifying campaign for other nations.
They will play through regional qualification although nations will be subject to minimum standards.
For the women’s World Cup in 2025, the places guaranteed by region are Asia-Pacific and Europe will have six berths each; MEA will be guaranteed one; and the final three berths are allocated to the Americas.
IRL chair Troy Grant said: “There were some significant and positive decisions taken at this meeting. They are a clear signal of the ambitions that we all have for international rugby league.
“Our women’s game is growing well and the guarantee of places to each of the RLWC2021 teams gives them the certainty and continuity that helps them develop their programmes whilst, at the same time, opening up massive opportunities to new nations taking up the women’s game.”
The format of the wheelchair and youth competitions is still to be completed.
Host nation France will qualify automatically for all four competitions.
French Federation president, Luc Lacoste, added: “I thank the Board of IRL for their deliberations and welcome the decisions. We want France2025 to be the most inclusive world cup ever with the widest possible representation from around the world.”
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