Tuesday 6 December 2016

Liam Neeson proves his class with generous gesture to help Ireland land the 2023 Rugby World Cup

Nick Purewal

Published 14/11/2016 | 17:24

File photo dated 29-03-2015 of Liam Neeson. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Monday November 14, 2016. Hollywood star Liam Neeson will help Ireland ratchet up their all-out charm offensive bid to host Rugby World Cup 2023 in Dublin on Tuesday. See PA story RUGBYU World Cup. Photo credit should read Ian West/PA Wire
File photo dated 29-03-2015 of Liam Neeson. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Monday November 14, 2016. Hollywood star Liam Neeson will help Ireland ratchet up their all-out charm offensive bid to host Rugby World Cup 2023 in Dublin on Tuesday. See PA story RUGBYU World Cup. Photo credit should read Ian West/PA Wire

Hollywood star Liam Neeson will help Ireland ratchet up their all-out charm offensive bid to host Rugby World Cup 2023 in Dublin on Tuesday.

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Irish movie actor Neeson has narrated a video entitled "Ready For The World" that the 2023 World Cup bid team will debut at Tuesday's bid unveiling at the Aviva Stadium.

"Taken" star Neeson has voiced the video free of charge, lending his celebrity weight to Ireland's increasingly high-profile bid to stage rugby's global contest in seven years' time.

An Irish Rugby Football Union (IRFU) spokesman confirmed to Press Association Sport that actor Neeson had waived any potential fee for the promotional video, in a clear early boost to Ireland's bid.

Ireland will reveal detailed logistics and plans for their £100million bid at Tuesday's press conference, outlining potential venues and anticipated tourism and financial benefits of hosting the competition.

Ireland are battling it out with South Africa and France for the chance to stage the World Cup in seven years' time.

The IRFU has joined forces with the two Irish governments to build a bid that will run to at least £100million.

Global governing body World Rugby will decide the 2023 competition's destination in November 2017 - and Ireland are comfortably the first of the three competing nations to map out their detailed hosting plans.

Ambassador Brian O'Driscoll will join an Taoiseach Enda Kenny, deputy first minister Martin McGuinness and bid board chairman Dick Spring in Tuesday's grand unveiling.

Ireland confirmed their intention to challenge to host the 2023 World Cup as early as December 2014, with IRFU chief executive Philip Browne even then able to estimate that £100million bill for the bid.

"For the Japan World Cup the guarantee tournament fee which has to be paid to Rugby World Cup is £96million," said Browne in December 2014.

"One assumes we are going to have to pay at least that, probably more."

The World Cup bid committee will be expected to give an update on the protracted redevelopment of Belfast's Casement Park GAA stadium.

The GAA is already on board for its stadia to provide the kind of vast attendance opportunities that will underpin Ireland's World Cup bid.

The likes of Croke Park will be crucial to Ireland's chances of staging the tournament, with the 82,000-capacity Dublin stadium surely lined up as a potential venue to host the final.

GAA bosses have already insisted Casement Park's redevelopment will be ushered through in time to underwrite the World Cup bid. But the IRFU and the bid team could provide further detail on that front this week.

Press Association

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