Rugby bid hits out at security ratings
The team behind Ireland's 2023 Rugby World Cup bid said it was amazed and surprised Ireland was considered to be as safe as rivals South Africa and France by scrutineers assessing security in each nation bidding to host the competition.
It has raised concerns that an analysis of bids from the three countries focused on future security plans rather than the threat level in each state.
Sources close to the Irish bid are concerned that South African crime levels, and the threat of international terrorism in France after a spate of Isil attacks, had no apparent impact on how each bid was measured by World Rugby.
Rugby World Cup Limited (RWCL), the company owned by rugby's governing body and tasked with organising the competition, was criticised by Ireland 2023 chairman Dick Spring for not engaging with independent specialist security advice.
In a letter sent to voters on World Rugby's Council last week, Mr Spring highlighted that Ireland is considered to be the world's 10th safest country, more than 100 places ahead of South Africa, World Rugby's preferred candidate the host the tournament.
The Global Peace Index, a directory measuring safety and threat levels in each country, places France in 51st place.
"We are amazed at the analysis of security issues as contained in the Evaluation Report, given that it gives similar security scoring to all three candidates," reads Mr Spring's letter.
"The scoring system, devised with the input of external legal consultants, appears to focus more on security plans rather than the threat level… RWCL doesn't appear to have engaged independent specialist security advice to assess the bids."
The letter continues: "For the Rugby World Cup 2015 and 2019 host selection process RWCL appointed specialists Jardine Lloyd Thompson to conduct a risk and security assessment.
"In the current climate we would have expected a similar approach for Rugby World Cup 2023."