Teams from over 20 nations will be given the opportunity to play in the 2013 Rugby League World Cup, the RLIF announced today.
The World Cup will be staged in the UK and will feature 14 nations, two of whom will come from qualifying tournaments in the northern and southern hemispheres.
The identity of the 12 teams which will have automatic eligibility for 2013 and those who will be involved in the qualifying process will be revealed later this year.
The proposal for a 14-nation Rugby League World Cup was ratified in Singapore today at a meeting of the RLIF and welcomed by Chairman Colin Love, who expressed his belief that the tournament would elevate international Rugby League to new levels.
"We are delighted to have ratified this proposal for a 14-nation Rugby League World Cup which was unanimously supported by RLIF delegates," said Love.
"This year will see the Four Nations in Australia and New Zealand build on the success of the 2008 Rugby World Cup and 2009 Four Nations and going forward I am confident that in 2013 we will see a tournament that will successfully showcase international Rugby League to a worldwide audience.
"The format reflects Rugby League's increased participation around the world and provides a wonderful opportunity for the finest athletes in any sport to prove themselves on the greatest stage of all."
The 2013 Rugby League World Cup was awarded to the UK in July 2009.