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England has been named as the host location for Rugby World Cup 2025 by World Rugby
Since England last hosted the RWC in 2010 and won it in 2014, women’s rugby has grown exponentially with World Rugby stating the women’s game is the single biggest opportunity to grow the sport globally. England’s 15-a-side team is now the No. 1 ranked team in the world, having recently won its fourth consecutive Six Nations title.
Female participation in England has grown from 13,000 to 40,000 registered players in clubs, with a growing pipeline of girls playing in schools, colleges and universities. For Rugby World Cup 2025, the RFU and host partners World Rugby, plan to adopt a multi-city and multi-region approach to delivering the tournament.
This will be the first time that the tournament will be made up of 16 teams and the hosting model will facilitate great opportunities for people living in different parts of the country to attend, promoting rugby and enhancing participation in the sport nationwide.
A central theme to the hosting plans will be to deliver a legacy programme in parallel to the tournament from 2022 to 2025 for growing the women’s game across the country. The legacy programme will focus on three key strands: creating capacity through facility development and the recruitment of female coaches and referees, creating a multigenerational legacy through a call to arms for more young girls and university women to play, and for women who didn’t have the opportunity to play to become fans, and to support development within the home unions.
The legacy programme will see facilities standards improved to enhance the experiences women and girls have in hundreds of clubs. Through investment, the programme will modernise toilet facilities, upgrade changing rooms and develop social spaces in clubs across the country. Grassroots education and mentor programmes will aim to attract 1,000 new female coaches and 500 match officials while also introducing thousands more girls and young women to the game.
“We are thrilled to be hosting Rugby World Cup 2025, it is going to be incredible,” said Sue Day, RFU Chief Operating Officer and Chief Finance Officer. “We would like to thank Government for their support in making this possible. Working closely with Government, UK Sport, Sport England and World Rugby together we will create a lasting legacy for women’s rugby in England, the UK and across the world, both in terms of attracting more people to play and attracting new fans.
Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries added: “We want to use the 2025 World Cup as a catalyst to inspire more women and girls to get active and enjoy the benefits of competitive sport. “We’ve a great platform to do so. The Red Roses are top of the world rankings and grassroots participation is booming. We’re investing £30 million in a major sporting events package over the next three years to help us achieve our aim.”
Sally Munday, CEO at UK Sport, said: “Today marks a truly great day for rugby union and for women’s sport in the UK. By the time the Rugby World Cup begins in 2025, it will have been 15 years since England last acted as host and major events such as these are integral to us achieving the ambitions of our ten-year strategic plan.
“We want the UK to host a programme of inspirational major sporting events that will excite new audiences. We want to reach towns and cities across the UK and grow a more diverse and sustainable fanbase for the future of sport. We are therefore truly excited about what is to come as we build towards the Rugby World Cup in 2025.
Through partnerships with universities, the legacy programme will recruit and retain players and create club leaders of the future with activities including the staging of a Festival of Rugby event.
With the aim of attracting more fans of women’s rugby in the build up to 2025, renewed effort will be put on marketing and encouraging fan attendance at Allianz Premier 15s matches and clubhouses will be opened up to host events to encourage women who have never played or watched rugby to see rugby clubs as a place they would like to visit. The RFU is also committed to growing the English game, leading into 2025 through its focus on implementing an ‘Every Rose Action Plan’.
A study by Sheffield Hallam University’s Sport Industry Research Centre (SIRC) demonstrated hosting the RWC in 2025 would be of benefit to the local economies of host venues around the country through job creation and international tourism and the RWC could boost the economy in England by £64m.
The legacy programme will generate an estimated £92m of socioeconomic benefits. The values attributed to the legacy programme are based on increasing female participation in rugby and volunteering in the sport, combined with evidence on the contribution of community sport and physical activity in England to the five outcomes identified in the UK Government strategy for sport.