Rugby World Cup 2023 – Reaction

France have been announced as the host of the 2023 Rugby World Cup. This is despite the Rugby World Cup Board recommending South Africa be selected. The third country hoping to host the Rugby World Cup in 2023 was Ireland who received the fewest votes.

Here is my reaction to France being selected as hosts, you can either watch the video or read my thoughts below.

I think the big loser in all this is World Rugby when they announced the recommendation said “The process is comprehensive and transparent and designed to produce the best-possible candidate.” The problem is that the council didn’t follow the recommendation and so the whole transparency thing went out the window.

The problem is that World Rugby are taking the flack when it’s the individual unions that have put them in this place. World Rugby are trying to be the leading Sports Administrators and so put in place an independent review of the bids which is a step in the right direction. How ever I think the correct process would have been:

  1. Agree the how the bids will be evaluated and have that set out up front. When the recommendation came out the bids seemed surprised by the reasoning.
  2. Have an independent recommendation.
  3. Allow challenges from the bids and re-recommend after clarifications. This did happen and the recommendation wasn’t changed.
  4. Rubber stamp the recommendation. This clearly didn’t happen, but if you have all agreed the terms of the recommendation then this should happen.

Personally I think the terms of the recommendation were wrong in the first place. I’d have rated South Africa lower for security of fans and political stability. Recently South Africa pulled out of hosting the Commonwealth Games but it has been pointed out to me that the government didn’t guarantee that bid.

Also I think that going to a new place should be a positive in the review. When New Zealand got the 2011 Rugby World Cup it was their first solo bid. Also one of the selling points was that it would be the last time the tournament was small enough for New Zealand to host. I feel that the same applies to Ireland and this was their last chance to host the tournament.

A lot of people on Twitter have suggested that France has bought the Rugby World Cup and that World Rugby has sold out. The thing to remember is that World Rugby had no say and it was the individual unions and regional organisations are the ones that voted not World Rugby. In someways France did buy the vote, as if you look below the voting split, the regions and Tier 2 countries voted for France. We are always wanting the Tier 2 countries to be funded more and that’s what they have voted for. World Rugby makes it’s money from the Rugby World Cup and so this will give them more cash to hand out.

So I think World Rugby ended up with egg on their face as their process didn’t work the way they were hoping for. Personally I would have like Ireland to have hosted the Rugby World Cup as I think it’s their last chance. Clearly France will put on a good tournament and hopefully the extra cash that World Rugby get will see better funding for the Tier 2 nations.

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