The Rugby Football Union (RFU), England’s governing body for rugby union, have announced that they will launch a bid to host the Women’s Rugby World Cup in 2025.
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.
The Red Roses are the number one ranked team in the world and the RFU has grown female participation in England from 13,000 to 40,000 registered players in clubs, with a growing pipeline of 80,000 girls playing in schools, colleges, and universities.
"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," said RFU Chief Executive, Bill Sweeney.
"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."
A central theme to the bid 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 international development within the home unions.
The Legacy Programme could generate an estimated £86m. 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.
The legacy programme will also see facilities standards improved to enhance the experiences.
Sue Day, RFU Chief Operations and Finance Officer and former England Women’s Captain who represented England at three World Cups and won three grand slams said: “Securing a bid to host the Women’s RWC would be incredible. We want to leave 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.
“As we have seen from other home World cups in Cricket, Hockey and Netball a RWC would further advance all women’s sport, and nothing would beat watching the Red Roses compete in front of a full capacity crowd at Twickenham Stadium.”
Subject to securing sufficient private and public sector funding, the final bid submission will go to World Rugby for consideration in January 2022.