Thursday 19 April 2018

Revamp for World Cup bids – Process to change after Ireland 2023 snub

RWC to change process after controversial decision to snub Ireland and give 2023 finals to France

Bid ambassador Brian O'Driscoll leaves the room after the Rugby World Cup 2023 host union announcement Photo: Brendan Moran/Sportsfile
Bid ambassador Brian O'Driscoll leaves the room after the Rugby World Cup 2023 host union announcement Photo: Brendan Moran/Sportsfile
A future Irish World Cup bid could be back on the table after it emerged that World Rugby are reviewing their bidding process with a view to an overhaul in the wake of the controversial decision to hand the 2023 tournament to France. (stock picture)

Gavin Mairs and Rúaidhrí O'Connor​

A future Irish World Cup bid could be back on the table after it emerged that World Rugby are reviewing their bidding process with a view to an overhaul in the wake of the controversial decision to hand the 2023 tournament to France.

Ireland's bid team were left disillusioned by the process that saw them finish behind the French and South African bids in November and IRFU chief executive Philip Browne warned that their experience would rule out smaller nations entering the process.

Ireland were marked down on stadia and infrastructure as the World Rugby Council handed the tournament to the most lucrative bid despite South Africa winning the recommendation of their own technical report.

World Rugby's executive committee met for the first time since that decision in Dublin on Monday and are considering whether to combine voting on up to three future tournaments at once, with at least one being awarded to a country for "developmental" reasons to help grow the game.

According to the 'Daily Telegraph', the move comes amid concerns that bids could be dominated by a small number of nations offering the most lucrative terms in the wake of France's shock victory. The French bid offered a guaranteed net revenue return of €400m compared the €300m on offer from Ireland and South Africa.

World Rugby has since carried out a review of the process. Bill Beaumont, who inherited the process after becoming chairman of World Rugby in 2016, is now determined to address concerns that only countries that can guarantee the highest pay-day will win the right to host future tournaments.

Beaumont has begun holding discussions with representatives from member unions to open up a debate about ensuring the council do not always "chase the cash".

That could potentially open the door for another bid by Ireland.

"It is the philosophical debate that World Rugby has to have and will have," Beaumont said. "Do you always chase the pound, euro or dollar?

"Or sometimes do we think we are going to have to take less money out of it as organisers - and our members understand the consequences of that - and we use it as a development tool.

"It could well be in Ireland, the USA, Argentina or anywhere on the planet."

Irish Independent

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