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‘IT’S CLEAR FROM THE PRESENTATIONS THAT WE HAVE THREE EXCEPTIONALLY STRONG, IMPRESSIVE AND EXCITING BIDS WITH FULL GOVERNMENT SUPPORT. EACH, I BELIEVE, IS CAPABLE OF HOSTING A SUPERB RUGBY WORLD CUP.’
CONVENTION IS GOING TO BE BROKEN IN CHOOSING WHO SHOULD HOST THE 2023 RUGBY WORLD CUP, WITH AN INDEPENDENT EVALUATION PROCESS HAVING BEEN ASSIGNED THE TASK OF RECOMMENDING A PREFERRED BIDDER. The three countries bidding – France, Ireland and South Africa – have all submitted their final bids, been to New Zealand and other countries to directly present their case, and their fate will be determined by a World Rugby Council vote in November.
Except, unlike in previous years, World Rugby has asked two independent bodies – an accountancy firm and a sports marketing group – to evaluate the three bids and then recommend which one they see as the strongest.
The criteria by which they will determine ‘strongest’ are:
Venues and infrastructure commensurate with a top-tier major event
Comprehensive and enforceable public and private sector guarantees
A commercially successful event with a fully funded, robust financial model
Operational excellence through an integrated and experienced delivery team
A vision that engages and inspires domestic and international audiences and contributes to the growth of rugby at all levels
An enabling environment of political and financial stability that respects the diversity of Rugby World Cup’s global stakeholders
An environment and climate suited to top-level sport in a geography that allows maximum fan mobility.
NZR chief executive Steve Tew confirmed that it was highly likely that New Zealand’s two votes would be cast in line with the recommendation and that he suspected most other nations would probably take the same stance.
When New Zealand won the 2011 hosting rights in 2005, their bid was independently evaluated, but no recommendation was made to the voting members.
For that tournament, New Zealand was up against Japan and South Africa and the World Cup came here largely because of the strength of the relationships formed.
Former NZR chief executive Chris Moller and former chairman Jock Hobbs travelled the world between 2003 and 2005, wining and dining voting members, selling New Zealand’s bid to them.
It was a hugely successful strategy in what was a politicised process back then when there was the ability to trade for votes – with France winning the votes of Scotland and Wales back in 2007 by o ering the two Celtic nations the opportunity to host games.
Tew says the shi to this new process of an independent group making a recommendation was heavily debated before agreement was reached.
World Rugby chairman Bill Beaumont said: “It’s clear from the presentations that we have three exceptionally strong, impressive and exciting bids with full government support. Each, I believe, is capable of hosting a superb Rugby World Cup.
“I would like to thank our friends from the respective union bid teams for their hard work, commitment and for sharing their vision and detailed hosting plans. My council colleagues and I have much to consider and we look forward to the outcome of the thorough and independent evaluation process next month before we consider and select the Rugby World Cup 2023 host union.”
South Africa are desperately hoping they will be successful having not hosted the World Cup since 1995. AFRICA CALLING