The Rugby Football Union today unveiled its bid to host the Rugby World Cup in England in 2015. Follows and extract from the presentation:
In a presentation to the International Rugby Board (IRB) Council in Dublin today, England’s bid team outlined proposals to bring the RWC back to England for the first time in 24 years, a move it believes will leave a lasting legacy for the global game.
Pool stages would be held in nine cities across England, with the latter stages scheduled to take place in some of the most world’s most iconic sporting stadiums, including Wembley Stadium, Cardiff’s Millennium Stadium, the Emirates Stadium, Old Trafford and Anfield, with the final taking place at Twickenham Stadium.
RFU Chief Executive Francis Baron believes that given the global economic climate, hosting the tournament in England would support the growth of the global game and provide a lasting legacy for the future of world rugby.
“In 2015 it will be 24 years since England last hosted a Rugby World Cup and we believe the time is right,” said Baron. “The RFU is 100% committed to delivering an outstanding RWC 2015. These are turbulent and difficult times but we believe the bid we have put together represents a low risk but high potential return.
“The combined capacity of our chosen stadia is in the region of 700,000 seats. Our target is to sell 3 million seats, that’s a 30 per cent increase on France 2007.”
The bid has the full support of Her Majesty’s Government, as the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport Andy Burnham demonstrated in Dublin today when he said, “From the Prime Minister down, the RFU’s bid has the Government’s total backing. These are exciting times for sport in our country. Next month, the cricket Twenty20 World Cup marks the start of what we hope will be the most memorable and successful decade in our sporting history.
“A Rugby World Cup on home soil in 2015 will be a central part of that vision for a decade of sport. It would take the game to new audiences and inspire a new generation to take up rugby.
“To help the RFU make this bid we have agreed a package of measures which includes a partial underwriting of the RFU’s financial guarantee and a guarantee for the security of the tournament outside the stadia involved.”
With the business case laid out, Baron went on to assure the Council that England 2015 would not only deliver financially.
“At the heart of our bid are passion, love and commitment to the game and its ideals. Our desire is to broaden rugby’s horizons by reaching out and embracing new audiences. The tournament would serve as a catalyst to drive participation, awareness and opportunities supporting the development of the game nationally, in Europe and across the globe.
“The RFU is committed to investing 100% of its surplus from the tournament back into the grassroots game, both here in England and through our continued investment in our development agreements with North America and support for the Pacific Island nations.”
England 2015 would also be very much a tournament for the players. “This tournament would exceed the players’ wildest dreams,” said Lawrence Dallaglio. “It would be about playing in truly iconic stadia, to full crowds of passionate supporters, drawn from the multi-cultural melting pot of England, one of the most culturally diverse countries in the world.
“It would be about creating a unique festival of rugby for all. By drawing on our rich heritage and culture, we would make sure that every team has a fan base before they even arrive.
“Finally, it would be about quality accommodation, unrivalled training facilities and state of the art medical facilities. It would be every athlete’s dream.”
RFU Director of Business Operations Paul Vaughan added, “With a proven track record of organising and delivering major sporting events, hosting the tournament in England would, we believe, deliver the best possible return to support the IRB in the development of the game worldwide.
“We will use some of the largest and iconic stadia in the world, venues like Twickenham Stadium (82,000), Wembley (90,000), Old Trafford (76,000), the Millennium Stadium (74,000) and the Emirates (61,000). Each of these venues is already equipped with the highest quality facilities, served by a comprehensive travel infrastructure and experienced in hosting world class sporting events. The result is a low risk, high reward strategy, capable of providing the ultimate experience for spectators, participants and partners alike.
“With an advanced broadcasting environment, we believe that hosting the tournament in England would attract more global brands to sponsor the event by providing the optimal environment for them to activate their rights.”
Rounding off the RFU’s presentation, Will Greenwood returned to the legacy of the bid and its impact on grassroots rugby.
“I am a grassroots man through and through and I have seen the power of rugby and its ability to change lives on an individual level and on a community basis. We hope our bid will allow more youngsters to experience this incredible power as a positive experience in their lives,” said Greenwood.
“Rugby is the fastest growing major sport in England. Participation is up 40% since 2003 and we want to target a further 40% rise in the next eight years. The health of the nation is at the forefront of our bid. Over half the UK’s 11 to 14-year-olds now watch or play rugby at least once a month, keeping kids active and healthy.
“Our bid contains the outline of a schools and youth club programme aimed at translating the unprecedented interest into long term participation to broaden the base of the game at all levels by working in conjunction with charities like the NSPCC, the police, Sport England and other governing bodies, both here and around the world.
“Once in a lifetime we have the chance to deliver a lasting legacy, to reach out to new players and fans and recruit a new generation to our wonderful game. Our legacy will not just be to grow the playing, coaching and support base for rugby but also to spread the values and beliefs of our very special game: teamwork, respect, discipline, friendship and the celebration of difference. What a legacy that would be.”