Ireland has formally submitted a 990 page document outlining in fine detail the undertakings and commitments that we will make to stage the 2023 Rugby World Cup.
A parade of dignitaries, supporters, players, children and entertainers made the short journey from the IRFU headquarters on Lansdowne Road yesterday afternoon to the HQ of World Rugby on Pembroke Street. They carried the document and it was formally handed over to World Rugby by ‘Bid Kid’ Alex Place from Templepatrick, Co. Antrim.
The 11-year-old was one of 120 children carrying flags to represent every rugby playing nation of the world, who joined with Dick Spring, Chairman of Ireland’s RWC 2023 Bid Oversight Board, IRFU President Stephen Hilditch, the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Shane Ross TD, Bid Ambassador Brian O’Driscoll, Ireland head coach Joe Schmidt and members of all the Irish international rugby teams to hand deliver the landmark document.
“This bid represents the hopes and aspirations of the entire Island and is focused very firmly on the future, as symbolised by the children who were front and centre of the bid submission today,” said Spring.
“It presents World Rugby with a compelling proposition that combines all the advantages of a traditional rugby market with the many opportunities of a new one.”
“Rugby is hugely popular in Ireland and growing. From this platform Irish sports fans will light up the tournament in the manner they have lit up so many international events around the world over the years, making it memorable for all.”
“This bid is grounded in certainty through unparalleled Government support, the availability and suitability of sold-out, iconic stadiums set in the heart of cities and towns, and, of course Ireland’s unrivalled access, through our diaspora, to the North American market. When one adds to that our massive tourism infrastructure one is guaranteed a tournament like no other for world rugby, visitors and home supporters alike.”
Spring then went on to highlight what we pointed out yesterday as being the key weakness of our main rival France who will, in likelihood be awarded the 2024 Olympic Games. This would put France in the same position as Japan where the Rugby World Cup for 2023 is in some danger of being overshadowed by the Olympics taking place only ten months after.
“Ireland’s commitment is further underlined by the fact that Rugby World Cup 2023, from the turn of the decade, will be our sole focus in terms of a major international sporting event, ensuring no distractions for key host authorities and no competition for the attention of Irish sports fans and sponsors. Ireland is truly ready for the world – ready to host the world and ready to promote rugby throughout the world.”
“This bid has the total support of the Irish Government,” said Taoiseach Enda Kenny. “We can guarantee that Ireland has the capacity to deliver a wonderful Rugby World Cup in 2023 which will have the backing of people throughout the island. We will welcome the world to our shores and encourage interest in the game of rugby like never before.”
The bid document is broken down into seven key sections, a blend of the sporting, the logistical and the commercial, all of which have strength and have been well crafted by the team to paint the bid in a winning light.
The promise of a tournament like no other, full of Irish spirit and commercial success, which will connect and engage the worldwide diaspora in support of rugby’s global development.
A full commitment from the Government of Ireland and the Northern Ireland Executive to support RWC 2023 as required by RWCL, including the payment of the Stg£120 million tournament fee.
The tournament will be a priority for the island of Ireland.
No other major international sporting event will be staged here in the years immediately surrounding RWC 2023.
A historic commitment from the GAA to make their iconic match venues available.
Commitments from Irish and International companies to fully support the RWC 2023 sponsorship programme and deliver unprecedented revenues to World Rugby.
An overall positive economic impact on the Island of Ireland of more than €1.5 billion.
World class, iconic venues set in the hearts of cities and towns; the perfect combination to accommodate the various match capacity requirements of a Rugby World Cup, including Croke Park, the third largest sporting venue in Europe.
Packed venues for every match with millions of enthusiastic fans.
Short travel distances between host venues and training bases maximising the preparation and playing experience for all players and teams.
Ireland is globally recognised as a major tourist destination, welcoming 10.6 million visitors in 2016.
A projected 445,000+ visitors will travel to Ireland for the tournament.
Ireland has in place all of the infrastructure including access and a range of accommodation options to comfortably accommodate all visitors to RWC 2023.
In excess of 12.2 million bed night options are available during the tournament window against a maximum number of 2.7 million bed nights actually required.
In addition, a historic agreement is in place with Ireland’s hotel industry committing to an agreed pricing mechanism.
Ireland has excellent international connectivity, with 44 million passengers passing through Ireland’s airports in 2016.
Ireland has an unrivalled global network numbering some 70 million people in the diaspora worldwide, including circa 40 million people in North America, a key strategic market for World Rugby.
Ireland has delivered a bid document which deserves to succeed. Not for the soft reasons of emotion and fairness but in the hard edge of commercial reality for a sport that is looking to expand its international footprint. This opportunity may not come around again for another generation. We need to do whatever we can to help get it over the line.
Decision day is November 15th.