• USA and Canada awarded tournament after losing out to England in 2021 bid
• Toronto Wolfpack sign Fuifui Moimoi as rugby league widens traditional reach
North America has been given the go-ahead to host the 2025 World Cup.
The USA and Canada will host the tournament after the Rugby League International Federation endorsed the recommendation of its board to take the 17th World Cup outside the sport’s traditional heartland for the first time.
The RLIF chairman, Nigel Wood, who is also chief executive of the Rugby Football League, said: “The award of the 2025 World Cup to North America is a historic moment in the global development of rugby league.
“The USA and Canada provide world class stadia allied to a significant multi-cultural population, which made the bid so persuasive.
“It is exciting that our sport is expanding into a new destination for our premier event, the World Cup, and we will work … to expand the presence of our sport in these countries during the lead-in to the 2025 World Cup.”
The decision was made at the RLIF annual meeting in Liverpool, where Wood and Australia’s John Grant were re-elected as chairman and deputy chairman respectively for the next two years.
The federation’s next task is to complete the international calendar from 2018 onwards, with a crucial decision to be made on the future of the Four Nations Series.
David Collier, the RLIF chief executive, said: “The decisions arising from our meetings in Liverpool have given fresh impetus to the global expansion of the sport and we look forward to an exciting year in 2017, with the World Cup less than a year away and tickets now on sale for the matches in Australia, New Zealand and Papua New Guinea.”
Closer to home, Toronto Wolfpack have signalled their intention to make their mark on English rugby league with the signing of the former New Zealand international Fuifui Moimoi and the announcement of pre-season fixtures against Wigan and Hull.
The world’s first transatlantic professional sports team began the countdown to their entry into Kingstone Press League 1 in 2017 at a press conference in Liverpool, on the eve of the Four Nations final at Anfield.
The Canadian club have been drip-feeding player signings over the past three months and, although their worldwide recruitment is not yet over, Moimoi represents a marquee signing
The arrival of the Tongan prop, 37, who spent the first 14 years of his professional career at NRL club Parramatta before playing the past two seasons in the Championship with Leigh, was welcomed by the head coach, Paul Rowley, who believes the “Steam Train” will quickly become a cult figure for Wolfpack fans.