Anx­ious wait as pre­ferred host for Rugby World Cup to be re­vealed

The Herald (South Africa) - - FRONT PAGE - Craig Ray

SA Rugby will be wait­ing anx­iously to­day for the an­nounce­ment of World Rugby’s pre­ferred can­di­date to host the World Cup in 2023‚ which is a cru­cial step to­wards win­ning the bid.

The of­fi­cial an­nounce­ment of whether France‚ Ire­land or South Africa will host Rugby World Cup 2023 will only be made on Novem­ber 15 when the World Rugby Coun­cil mem­bers vote to de­cide the host coun­try.

But it would be highly ir­reg­u­lar if the votes went con­trary to the rec­om­men­da­tion of the RWC 2023 Bid Eval­u­a­tion Re­port‚ which will be an­nounced to­day.

Pub­licly re­leas­ing the out­come of the ap­praisal by a panel of ex­perts from within rugby and other pro­fes­sional spheres‚ makes the bid­ding process much more trans­par­ent and will min­imise horse-trad­ing for votes on Novem­ber 15.

South Africa’s bid has met all World Rugby’s re­quire­ments and ex­ceeded them in most cases.

Most cru­cially the na­tional gov­ern­ment‚ which ini­tially held back on sup­port­ing the bid un­der for­mer sports min­is­ter Fik­ile Mbalula‚ has guar­an­teed World Rugby rev­enue of £160-mil­lion (R2.9-bil­lion)‚ which is £40-mil­lion (R743-mil­lion) more than the min­i­mum re­quire­ment.

South Africa’s bid book also projects sales of a record 2.9 mil­lion tick­ets, while all the sta­dia are al­ready built – a legacy of host­ing the 2010 Fifa World Cup.

A sig­nif­i­cant team of in­ter­nal and ex­ter­nal func­tional area ex­perts has car­ried out the eval­u­a­tion against weighted cri­te­ria that re­flect World Rugby’s key ob­jec­tives.

The host can­di­date which achieves the high­est score will be rec­om­mended by the Rugby World Cup Board as RWC 2023 host.

In­de­pen­dent con­sul­tant The Sports Con­sul­tancy has scru­ti­nised every as­pect of the eval­u­a­tion to en­sure all can­di­dates have been treated fairly and that the agreed cri­te­ria have been con­sis­tently ap­plied.

The weighted cri­te­ria cat­e­gories agreed on by the RWCL board and coun­cil and com­mu­ni­cated to host can­di­dates are based on World Rugby’s ob­jec­tives, which 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 the Rugby World Cup’s global stake­hold­ers; and

An en­vi­ron­ment and cli­mate suited to top-level sport in a ge­og­ra­phy that al­lows max­i­mum fan mo­bil­ity.

When votes are cast in two weeks’ time‚ Ire­land‚ France and South Africa‚ as bid­ding coun­tries‚ are un­able to vote.

There­fore, there are 39 votes in to­tal re­main­ing.

Those el­i­gi­ble to vote in the se­cret bal­lot will be Aus­tralia‚ Eng­land‚ New Zealand‚ Scot­land‚ Wales‚ Italy and Ar­gentina (all with three votes each), Ja­pan‚ Asia Rugby‚ Ocea­nia Rugby‚ Rugby Africa‚ Rugby Amer­i­cas North‚ Rugby Europe and Su­damer­ica Rugby (two votes each), and Canada, Ge­or­gia‚ Ro­ma­nia and US (one vote each).

In the event that none of the host can­di­dates re­ceives a sim­ple ma­jor­ity in the first round‚ the can­di­date with the least num­ber of votes will drop out be­fore a sec­ond bal­lot.

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