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Allez les Bleus as France celebrate recent RWC 2023 decision

Frank Quinn

By Frank Quinn
THE result of the World Rugby ballot was announced on the 15th November in London, and France were the victors.
The Irish bid tailed off miserably with 8 votes from a possible 39 in the first count and we were eliminated.
The six year campaign probably cost €3.25m according to Philip Browne CEO IRFU, of this amount the IRFU cost is €1.75m and the Irish Government contribution was €1.25m and Northern Ireland government chipped in with €250,000, which is just 8% of the cost, not a great vote of confidence in the project.
I have to admit to being a RWC addict/follower, and I was at the distribution of the 2015 and 2019 RWCs to England and Japan in Kildare St in Dublin in 2009. South Africa was the runner up for both.
To say that they raised hell is an understatement after the results were announced. They called for a recount, said they would withdraw, they blamed the RFU.
In the end they calmed down but at the back of my mind was the 2023 edition and I probably assumed that they were a shoe in for it as part of the horse trading. At that event the IRFU was represented by Philip Bowne and Pat Whelan – now chairman of the 6N and on the committee of the IRFU. They saw what it takes – politics and money if you want to mount a bid and expect a positive result. I do not think the situation was noted or embedded in the IRFU members’ heads when we mounted our bid. We did not learn the lesson and I would question the committee and their modus operandi in the face of this humiliating result in the face of such optimism.
To summarise: It is not about the good bid we mounted, not about small nations, not about technical committee results (Ireland passed fit), and not about all the reports you have been reading about all the side issues. Follow The Money and Politics: we offered €120m, France offered +€140m (+Add-ons), and South Africa €160m
And so, the first count was a dismal effort by Ireland, we received 8 votes out of 39, 20.5% – and this was boosted by England’s 3 votes – the other 5 came from North America 4 and a split one vote from the Oceania group.
Not one vote from the Southern Hemisphere and one country from the six nations, we definitely know where we stand in World Rugby. It is not about being mister nice guy or a great place to visit in November and during the Six Nations, it is certainly not about technical committees and reports on stadia, communications and security.
It is about the politics and cash.
There are miles of print lines out there covering various views regarding lack of support from 6N countries and the south and the technical committee but it was up to us to get out there and get the vote – ask your local TD, not wait until the judgment day count in London. We did not get it right.
At the RWC in 2015 – England included Cardiff (Wales – 3 points) in their bid, in spite of having ample stadia in England, they won – we saw how they won it, we ignored the lesson.
In the RWC 2007 edition which France also hosted, they gave six games including one quarter final to Edinburgh and Cardiff out of the 48 games, now that is politics. If you are still wondering why they did not vote for us for 2023 – stop wondering, – it was payback time. France made it to three RWC Finals, which is a super effort in the major rugby competition, they did not win it but they have contributed massively to the success of the competition since the start
From the information I have – we visited every member of the World Rugby affiliated countries canvassing for their vote, but this is politics.
The votes were on our doorstep – Scotland, Wales, Italy, England, all had three votes each and the four southern hemisphere countries had three votes each, this is a total of 24 out of 39. Every accountant knows that to make adjustments in the accounts – you start with the big numbers. I think we may have got it wrong in a €3.25m bid
Only one of these “Big Number” countries voted for Ireland.
The World Cup technical committee strategy and report went out the window and our outrage and condemnation of it was a sheer waste of time and years too late in our six year bid. In passing it will be interesting to see will it be scrapped for future allotments. World Rugby will argue that it did perform its job well, but it was ignored by the voters – how often have we seen that in real politics in the last couple of years.
With this count result it is difficult to see Ireland INC, north and south mounting a second bid in the future

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