The Irish Rugby Football Union today confirmed that it has officially withdrawn from the Rugby World Cup 2015 bidding process.
The IRFU had made an expression of interest to the International Rugby Board in January to make a joint bid with England, Scotland and Wales for the 2015 tournament.
The IRFU believed that due to the global economic downturn and the guaranteed financial return that the IRB required from the host country or countries, that this was the only realistic bid that Ireland could be part of.
The bid format which the IRFU was in favour of included that:
– Each Union would host its own pool for the tournament
– Each Union would host at least one quarter-final
This format would allow each country to share both the cost and the added value in terms of economic return of hosting the tournament.
While all of the Unions discussed this possibility at length, no agreement on a final bid could be reached and the IRFU came to the decision to withdraw from the process.
Commenting on the decision, IRFU Chief Executive Philip Browne said: “The current economic situation and the financial commitment to host a Rugby World Cup tournament was such that we felt a joint bid with all four unions of Ireland, England, Scotland and Wales would be the only viable format that Irish rugby could be part of.
“We examined in detail the possibility of other bid options alongside the positive spin-offs of hosting the tournament, but these did not satisfy all of the essential criteria for Irish rugby to remain involved in the process.
“We are obviously disappointed at the outcome as I believe the Irish rugby and wider sporting public would have given tremendous support to the tournament.”