Troy Grant has been named as the new IRL chair ©IRL

Troy Grant has targeted naming France as the host of the 2025 Rugby League World Cup after being appointed as International Rugby League (IRL) chairman.

The Australian has been an independent director of the organisation since February 2020 and steps up from his position as deputy chairman.

Grant replaces Greg Barclay following his recent appointment as chairman of the International Cricket Council.

Barclay will remain on the IRL Board as an independent director.

Grant said he hopes to turn IRL into an "agile and modern" organisation after being appointed as its new chairman.

He has targeted producing a 10-year competition calendar for the sport, as well as determining the host of the 2025 Rugby League World Cup.

The tournament was initially awarded to the United States and Canada but financial concerns led to their bid being scrapped.

A replacement host was initially due to be announced in 2020, but IRL now hope to confirm the location prior to this year's tournament in England.

Grant said he had proposed holding the tournament in France to the IRL Board, as part of the organisation's aim to grow the sport in the country.

"It is so important to grow the game [in France]," Grant said.

"I've been working with the French Government and I've been using my political contacts to further those discussions.

"We have started that work, but it is very early.

"I have pitched it to them that it could be part of a trifecta of international events, following the Rugby World Cup in 2023 and the Paris 2024 Olympics with an opportunity to have the Rugby League World Cup in 2025."

The new IRL chair hopes to name France as host of the 2025 Rugby League World Cup ©Getty Images
The new IRL chair hopes to name France as host of the 2025 Rugby League World Cup ©Getty Images

The new IRL chairman said a formal proposal is expected to shortly be made to the French Government, with the official open to the World Cup taking place solely in France or with some matches in other nations.

Grant said he had proposed for North America to stage the 2029 World Cup to the Board, after stressing the need for the organisation to be more nimble than in the past to take advantage of opportunities and achieve strategic aims.

The Australian said IRL has an obligation to take the game to a new level and provide greater communication and transparency, and added the organisation needs to remove "inertia" and take advantage of strategic opportunities.

Grant also hopes to confirm a host for the 2023 Rugby League Nines World Cup, with this process being led by Australian Rugby League.

He also expressed hope that nines could be added to more multi-sport events, with the discipline currently featuring as part of the Pacific Games.

"The pinnacle would be to get nines into the Olympics or the Commonwealth Games," Grant said.

"That is something that is being explored, but it is a long journey to take in terms of getting accredited.

"With Brisbane likely to be host of the Olympic Games in 2032 and Australia's rich rugby league [history], maybe we could target that as having nines as a demonstration sport."

IRL said Grant has taken a leading role in the sport's response to the COVID-19 pandemic, including assisting the National Rugby League's (NRL) Project Apollo and Innovation Committees.

The Committees managed the return to play after the initial COVID suspension and oversaw the one referee model for the NRL.

Grant, who has had a 30-year career in New South Wales in Government, law enforcement, emergency services, social justice, sport, community and charitable endeavours, has acknowledged the sport has immense challenges in the face of the pandemic.

"I feel very proud and privileged to become the chair of International Rugby League at this time, especially as we look forward to the unique excitement of the World Cup later in the year," he said.

"I have a lifetime involvement in the sport, and I am extremely ambitious for the sport globally.

"There are immense challenges facing world sport and rugby league is not immune to the global pandemic and its logistical and cost challenges.

"Equally I believe there are huge opportunities in what has been an undervalued and underappreciated but vital aspect of the sport.

"The time is now for the IRL to transform into an agile and modern sporting body with a rich history that harnesses the strong relationships across the global league family, the most community connected, one of its great strengths and rectify some of the organisation's legacy issues post haste.

"I look forward to continuing the work alongside the other directors and the membership to deliver what all rugby league supporters desire, an international calendar that delivers excitement and pride for players, fans, their communities and nations across the world."