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World Cup 2027 is Ireland’s best target

Frank Quinn

By Frank Quinn (pictured)

IT is possible that Ireland could host a Rugby World Cup within the next 13 years. The statistics are there but there would have to be a fair bit of wheeling and dealing before we could be confident of winning sufficient votes to stage the 2027 event on the Emerald Isle.

Maybe supporting the Southern Hemisphere in 2023 in the hope that they would reciprocate by supporting us for the next one might be a good idea and worth the gamble.

The recent multi rugby nations gathering in Limerick recently provided positive possibilities with a few big names in the game there to add weight to the presentation. The reality is that a lot can change in 13 years. Our presentation in the bid for 2027 will hold a lot of trumps. With the GAA on board Ireland would have no shortage of suitable venues and the prospect of two semi-finals and the final in Croker would water the mouths of financial backers. By then NAMA would surely have provide sufficient subsidiary hotel and apartment accommodation to stage a soccer World Cup and the boost to the economy would be an answer to prayer. Limerick would also benefit with Thomond Park and the Gaelic Grounds both included in projections.

Here is my assessment:

Our best opportunity appears to be the RWC 2027

Hosts 1987 – 2019
1987 New Zealand & Australia.  1991 North Hemisphere – 5 Nations hosts, 1995 South Africa, 1999 – same as 1991 – 5 Nations Northern Hemisphere.
2003 Australia. , 2007 France, 2011 New Zealand, 2015 England, 2019 Japan (North Hemisphere?)

Possible Hosts 2023 – 2027
2023 – South Africa (Under bidders for 2015 & 2019) are due to hold the RWC in Southern Hemisphere with Australia as runner up   – RWC 2027 – In Northern Hemisphere and Ireland’s best chance.

Politics in the Voting System: South Africa is clear favourite to host in 2023, having been under bidders for the previous two editions and the fact that the southern hemisphere countries will want to bring the RWC back to their territory. It is about votes at the IRB Council Meeting and we may have to vote for South Africa (Southern Hemisphere) for 2023 in order to ensure we get our shot at it for 2027 in the Northern Hemisphere against the other five nations.

The 2009/2015 announcement was made six years out from the events so if the IRB retains the same schedule, decisions on the 2023 and the 2027 editions would be made in 2016/2017. This allows for a long build-up for the IRFU bid, plenty of time to engage with the government in the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland and all the relevant bodies / stake holders and beneficiaries to holding the event.

The history:

To go back to the beginning, the IRB invited tenders for the hosting of the 2015 and 2019 RWC’s together in 2009 and announced the results in July 2009 (England in 2015 and Japan in 2019). The IRB said at the time that this was the best way to do it to allow for planning and it was a way of sharing the spoils around the world.

The International Rugby Board confirmed that four Unions bid to host either Rugby World Cup 2015 or 2019.

England, Italy, Japan and South Africa formally submitted detailed tenders for Rugby World Cup 2015, while all, with the exception of England, confirmed their intention to bid for the 2019 tournament.  The South African Rugby Union delivered its bid to host either the 2015 or 2019 Rugby World Cup.

Recent results for RWC:

The RWC 2003 was in Australia (net surplus £64.3m), 2007 in France (net surplus 122.4m), 2011 in New Zealand (net surplus £90m), 2015 in England and 2019 in Japan. The northern hemisphere is therefore due a shot at it in 2023 and back to the southern hemisphere South Africa? For 2027

“The commercial success of RWC is an important element in the progression of our Game and means that developing Rugby markets be considered for the tournament to both reflect and assist the Game’s strategic vision and evolution”, said an IRB statement

The asking guarantee price from the IRB/RWC Ltd for the last bids in 2009 was originally £150 million (in the good days) which was reduced to £100 million (€125m euro) after the financial crashes in 2008. The guarantee has to come from the Government of the tendering country/countries. It was estimated that 133,000 fans travelled to New Zealand in 2011 and the NZ economy was boosted by £260m (€325m). If I conclude that it includes VAT @ 21%, then the government take could be £55m (€68m) and that is in addition to the boost to everyone in the Hotel /transport/catering/tourism business.

It is also anticipated that because it is being held in the Northern Hemisphere (of the six nations) an estimated +200,000 would visit the Island of Ireland for the six week, 48 match event. With the backing of the GAA for their stadia

IRFU bid for 2023 – (or 2027 RWC.)

The IRFU released the following statement on Saturday 18th August 2012.

“The Irish Rugby Football Union has confirmed that it has had preliminary discussions with the Gaelic Athletic Association in relation to the availability of GAA grounds as part of a possible Irish bid to host the 2023 Rugby World Cup.

The IRFU fully understands and respects this process and looks forward to the GAA’s response in due course, while also acknowledging that any bid would be heavily dependent on support from the Government and the GAA.

The number of stadia that would be required for the tournament has not yet been decided, but a key element will be to establish the number of locations and venues available before a feasibility study is undertaken to determine Ireland’s overall capacity to host the tournament”.

IRFU Chief Executive Philip Browne said, “The Rugby World Cup in New Zealand showed what a country of four million people could achieve in terms of attracting visitors and showcasing the potential of a country, so an overall Ireland bid is something that the government was keen to discuss with us”.

“I think everybody is aware of the benefits from both a social and economic perspective that would come from hosting the third largest sporting event on the globe.  We are at the early stages of examining the feasibility of a bid and part of this study is to determine the interest and support of Government and other relevant bodies.” End of statement.

The GAA subsequently announced that they were receptive to the idea, and will make the required stadia available so another piece of the gig saw fell into place.

The Two Governments should have no difficulty in guaranteeing the +€100m. to the IRB considering it gave a guarantee of est.+€5/6m to the three day GiroD’Italia on the island in 2014

(To maximise the revenues – Croke Park (83,000) is the obvious venue for a minimum of both semi-finals and final and for the Ireland games. Maximum capacities would be required for the knockout stages when the real tournament begins for the final eight left standing.)

GAA pitches: Croke Park Dublin, Gaelic Park Limerick, Cork- Pairc ui Caoimh, Pearse Stadium Galway, Fitzgerald Stadium Killarney, Casement Park Belfast.

In addition to Aviva Stadium Dublin, Ravenhill Belfast, RDS Dublin, Thomond Park Limerick.

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