Qatar has emerged as a shock candidate to host the 2025 Rugby League World Cup.

Qatar has come forward after original hosts France were forced to withdraw due to failing to meet financial criteria set out by the French government and a decision to go forward with the tournament could've potentially resulted in a financial deficit.

The Middle Eastern nation will join other candidates Fiji, South Africa and New Zealand in their efforts to host the quadrennial tournament.

The International Rugby League board will take some time to assess the options before coming to a decision.

The decision will be deemed an important one after Qatar was criticised for an alleged violation of human rights, specifically migrant worker rights during their preparations for the 2022 FIFA World Cup.

IRL chairman Todd Grant will consider these allegations ahead of the decision.

“How real they are, we're yet to make those assessments,” he told The Guardian. 

“My personal view of the attractiveness would be in Qatar's financial capability to meet the costs of a tournament of our size and scale.

Australia v New Zealand - Rugby League World Cup Semi-Final
LEEDS, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 11: Cameron Munster of Australia is tackled by Brandon Smith of New Zealand during the Rugby League World Cup Semi-Final match between Australia and New Zealand at Elland Road on November 11, 2022 in Leeds, England. (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images for RLWC)

“We've done no due diligence to give expressions of interest due course of credit yet, but their stadia are first class, that's been proven with the FIFA World Cup having been held there successfully.

“The close proximity of stadia and the less travel required, even compared to the World Cup in England, would be massively advantageous regarding costs.

“But equally, the proper due diligence on human rights is a consideration, particularly because women in rugby league are so important to our code.

The committee will aim to consecutively host three tournaments, with the wheelchair competition another consideration factor. The world cup will hope to draw revenue from this strategy as no other singular-sport tournament has done so.

“The women's game is on a growth trajectory of astronomical proportions. To not take advantage of what we created at the last World Cup would be a massive setback,” said Grant.

BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA - DECEMBER 02: Sam Bremner hugs Nakia Davis-Welsh of the Jillaroos after winning the 2017 Rugby League Women's World Cup Final between Australia and New Zealand at Suncorp Stadium on December 2, 2017 in Brisbane, Australia. (Photo by Jason McCawley/Getty Images)

“We're not wedded to anything but we're the only sport that has ever conducted three World Cups at one time. It stood us alone, so it's a massive selling point. It drew record commercial investment.

“To abandon that strategy would be disappointing. That's critical to our future."