Tuesday 17 September 2019

Rio scandal won't affect rugby bid - O'Donovan

Minister of State for Tourism & Sport Patrick O' Donovan TD.
Photo: Gareth Chaney Collins
Minister of State for Tourism & Sport Patrick O' Donovan TD. Photo: Gareth Chaney Collins
Kevin Doyle

Kevin Doyle

Ireland's bid to host the Rugby World Cup will not be damaged by the Rio ticket scandal, Junior Sports Minister Patrick O'Donovan insists.

Hosting the tournament in 2023 offers the "chance of a lifetime for the country" but there is stiff competition for the honour from Italy, France and South Africa.

However, the minister told the Irish Independent that he is not concerned the recent controversies will have any impact on the judges.

"I think people will be assessing Ireland's capability to host a major international event and look at the bid in place and the package on offer as a whole.

"I don't think anybody will be distracted from the content," he said.

At the last Cabinet meeting before the summer recess, the Government agreed to underwrite €320m associated with staging the tournament.

And Mr O'Donovan said that once the full details are made public, "it will bring in the ordinary punter".

Talking up Ireland's chances of winning the bid, he said: "There has been no negativity at all.

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"Without the GAA, who are putting a huge commitment on the table, this couldn't happen.

"Everybody is up for it and when the public element is introduced I think people will get really behind it as well.

"When people start to feel that what is being presented to them is the chance of a lifetime for the country, they will back it."

Mr O'Donovan said Ireland has a strong reputation dating from the Special Olympics World Games in 2003.

"This would be something similar in that some of the venues are regional. It won't just have an urban focus, it will be rural as well."

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