Women’s World Cup qualifying fixtures announced as female referees look to play their part

Josh McAllister
Women’s World Cup

Ireland's Fiona McConn. Picture courtesy of European Rugby League.

The fixtures have been released for the inaugural European Women’s World Cup qualifying competition for France in 2025, with eight nations competing.

Female referees are also looking to play their part in the tournament later this year and into 2024.

England and France are not included, with them having already secured their places at 2025 World Cup by virtue of their participation in the most recent World Cup.

The eight nations will meet in two groups of four, with the top two in each progressing in a straight shoot out, and joining England and France as automatic qualifiers to complete Europe’s six berths.

The draws for both groups were made earlier in February at an official European Championships launch in west Yorkshire.

Women’s rugby league pioneer Julia Lee, who is chair of the IRL’s Women & Girls Advisory group, made the draw alongside former Great Britain Lioness Joanna Carr-Will.

The schedule dates are as followed:

Group A

30th September 2023 – Wales v Netherlands

28th October 2023 – Greece v Wales

4th November 2023 – Greece v Turkey

11th May 2024 – Netherlands v Greece, Turkey v Wales

18th May 2024 – Turkey v Netherlands

Group B

2nd September 2023 – Italy v Malta

28th October 2023 – Serbia v Ireland

11th May 2024 – Malta v Serbia, Ireland v Italy

18th May 2024 – Malta v Ireland

25th May 2024 – Italy v Serbia

A further announcement confirming the exact day of the weekend, kick-off times, and venue for each match will follow in due course. 

Female match officials looking to be a part

Two female match officials are looking to be involved in the fixtures, Luce Peyre from France and Ireland’s Fiona McConn.

“Last year I should have come to referee a women’s Euro B game but my university commitments prevented me,” said Peyre.

“I would like to do a women’s game for the 2025 Rugby League World Cup because for France it’s a big opportunity.

“It’s very important to see the women’s game growing in Europe at all levels.

“I didn’t referee at school but both my brothers are involved in the sport and they supported me. I would encourage any woman to have a go.”

McConn took charge of Wales and Italy in women’s Euro B last year.

She said: “The game at Crosskeys was my first international appointment.

“It was a great experience, both in terms of refereeing a game at that level and together with match officials from different nations.

“It is so important to continue developing the domestic game, both in Ireland and across European countries. Taking up refereeing rugby league was one of the best decisions I have made. There is a clear pathway for progression if that is something you are interested in. But what I enjoy is the match official family that I’m now a part of.”

The women’s World Cup will also hold qualifying tournaments in Asia-Pacific (involving Fiji, Samoa and Tonga), the Americas (Chile, Jamaica and USA) and Middle East/Africa (Cameroon, Ghana, Lebanon, Morocco, Nigeria, South Africa).

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