Irish Rugby World Cup bid cost €3.25m and rues lack of Six Nations support
Ireland’s failed bid to host the 2023 Rugby World Cup cost €3.25 million ($3.83 million), with the Irish Rugby Football Union and the governments of Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland picking up the tab, it was reported today.
Ireland’s bid attracted just eight votes out of the 39 available in the first round of voting on Wednesday, with France going on to beat off the challenge of South Africa in the second round to be chosen to host the tournament.
Philip Browne, the IRFU’s chief executive, told the Irish Independent: “The bid cost was probably in the region of €3.2 million to €3.25 million.
“We have put in about €1.75 million, the government in the Republic have put in about €1.25 million and the Northern Ireland government put in about €250,000.”
Ireland’s bid had counted on the support of its fellow contestants in the annual Six Nations tournament in Scotland, Wales and Italy, which between them controlled nine votes, and were disappointed when their votes went elsewhere.
Browne said: “It's very disappointing. It was particularly disappointing that Scotland and Wales didn't support their nearest neighbours.
“They had reasons. Scotland wanted to go for the money and Wales wanted to effectively support Gareth Davies, who was part of the evaluation process [which had recommended that South Africa should stage the competition].
“[We’re] very disappointed [in Italy]. We put ourselves out and spent a lot of political capital in supporting Italy for all the right reasons as we believe the professional game in Italy needs to be supported.
“Unfortunately our colleagues in Scotland and Wales sometimes take a different view so we have had to defend the Italian position, but listen, we have to sit down and work it all out.”
Browne suggested that Ireland would not bid again under the parameters that emerged over the course of the bidding process.
The IRFU is understood to have taken the view, in particular, that once the criteria for tournament stadia were fully known, only late in the process, its bid was certain to struggle against those of France and South Africa, whose stadium infrastructure both received recent major upgrades as a result of staging major soccer tournaments (Uefa Euro 2016 and the 2010 Fifa World Cup, respectively).