The Rugby Football Union’s bid to host the women’s World Cup in 2025 could hinge on whether the government provides financial backing of up to £30m.
The RFU has officially announced plans to rival France to stage the tournament, offering a bold vision of a “multi-city and multi-region approach” to grow the women’s game and provide a £156m boost to the UK economy. England – the 2014 champions – last hosted the tournament in 2010 when the final was played at the Stoop but as part of the 2025 bid the RFU is confident of selling out Twickenham for the showpiece event in a demonstration of how much the women’s game has developed.
When England hosted the men’s World Cup in 2015, the government underwrote the £80m tournament fee but has yet to commit to the bid for the 2025 women’s tournament. The RFU is exploring the potential for private investment but remains hopeful of government backing, revealing that while the bid is due to be formally submitted to World Rugby in January, that is “subject to securing sufficient private and public sector funding”.
The RFU chief executive, Bill Sweeney said: “Securing RWC 2025 would add to the impressive list of major sporting events that the UK has attracted since London 2012, reinforcing the UK’s international reputation as a leading major events’ destination and a global leader in promoting women’s sport.
“As well as providing great economic returns, hosting the tournament would help to further promote rugby as an inclusive sport and provide a springboard to narrow the gap between male and female participation.”
The RFU has also expressed its intention to bid for the men’s World Cup in 2031 but is yet to make a final decision. World Rugby is set to vote on the hosts for both tournaments – as well as the men’s World Cup in 2027 – next May.