Nx­esi ballsy about SA’s rugby cup bid

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - FRONT PAGE - NICK SAID

SPORTS min­is­ter Thu­las Nx­esi has de­fended South Africa’s bid to host the 2023 Rugby World Cup fol­low­ing crit­i­cism of the eval­u­a­tion process by ri­vals.

South Africa was an­nounced as the pre­ferred can­di­date to stage the event ahead of France and Ire­land af­ter an eval­u­a­tion by the Rugby World Cup board.

South Africa, which was the 1995 host coun­try, emerged as the clear win­ner, but the re­sults were dis­puted by French fed­er­a­tion pres­i­dent Bernard La­porte and his Ir­ish coun­ter­part, Philip Browne.

“It would be un­der­stand­able if those sen­ti­ments were largely in­formed by dis­ap­point­ment,” Nx­esi said. “It is our firm con­vic­tion that World Rugby has run a rig­or­ous and pro­fes­sional process of unim­peach­able in­tegrity.”

The fi­nal de­ci­sion will be made fol­low­ing a vote in Lon­don on Wed­nes­day.

“Even dur­ing the 2010 World Cup bid­ding process, our com­peti­tors and their fel­low de­trac­tors mounted a con­certed smear cam­paign to be­smirch and ma­lign South Africa’s bid,” Nx­esi said.

“They al­leged that our coun­try was grossly ill-pre­pared to host such a big event. They fur­ther de­clared our coun­try to be the crime cap­i­tal of the world.

“They proph­e­sied im­pend­ing doom and gloom that would be­fall the tour­na­ment and to tourists and fans com­ing to our shores.

“All of the prophe­cies in­deed came to nought. These lat­ter-day prophets and naysay­ers will again be proven wrong.”

Other than Eng­land, South Africa is the only coun­try to have hosted a foot­ball, cricket and rugby world cup.

“We have a long his­tory of ma­jor, in­ci­dent-free mega events and we have de­vel­oped ex­per­tise over many years in our se­cu­rity ser­vices to en­sure that re­mains so,” Nx­esi said.

“Our fi­nan­cial guar­an­tee to World Rugby is ir­rev­o­ca­ble, the bid team’s tick­et­ing plan will en­sure min­i­mum ca­pac­ity of 91% over the tour­na­ment with some tick­ets pro­vided free to com­mu­ni­ties and oth­ers cost­ing as lit­tle as R55.” – Reuters

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