The IRFU, the Irish Government and the Northern Ireland Executive have announced today the appointment of a Chairman, Vice Chairman and a number of board members to the Oversight Board for Ireland’s 2023 Rugby World Cup Bid. They have also named the Bid Ambassador.
The Oversight Board will approve bid strategy, oversee progress, liaise with the IRFU and both Governments, and ensure the delivery of a ‘world class’ bid for RWC 2023 in Ireland.
Dick Spring, former Tánaiste and Irish rugby international, has been appointed Chairman of the Board.
Dr. David Dobbin, Group Chief Executive, Dale Farm and Chairman of the Management Committee of the Ulster Branch IRFU, has been appointed Vice-Chairman of the Board.
Brian O’Driscoll, the world’s most capped international rugby player, has been appointed to the board with the title of Bid Ambassador.
Hugo MacNeill, who was Chair of the joint RWC Working Group, will serve on the Board. Hugo is a former Irish rugby international with a successful career in business.
Philip Browne, Chief Executive of the IRFU will be a member of the board.
Páraic Duffy, Director General of the GAA, will be a member of the board.
Shane Logan, CEO of Ulster Rugby, will be a member of the board.
Further appointments including individuals with sporting, business and major events experience will be made in the coming weeks.
Initial preparations for Ireland’s bid process are well advanced with tenders already issued by the IRFU’s Bid Team for work on a number of areas such as finance, logistics, stadia selection, ticketing and marketing.
World Rugby will formally launch the RWC 2023 Host Selection process with a briefing for interested member Unions in Twickenham in June. The bid tender process will last some two years, with final presentations being made to the World Rugby Council in May 2017.
Ireland’s intention to bid to host RWC 2023 was announced at a ceremony in Armagh last November in the presence of An Taoiseach, Enda Kenny TD, Tánaiste Joan Burton TD, Northern Ireland’s First Minister Peter Robinson MLA and Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness MLA.
Commenting on the new board appointments and Ireland’s bid, IRFU Chief Executive Philip Browne said: “I would like to welcome our Chairman Dick Spring, Vice Chairman David Dobbin, Bid Ambassador Brian O’Driscoll, Páraic Duffy, Director General of the GAA, Shane Logan, CEO of Ulster Rugby, and Hugo MacNeill, who chaired the initial assessment grouping so professionally, to the RWC 2023 Bid team.
“They bring an extraordinary array of talent and experience to the project and we very much look forward to working with them.
“This is a very exciting opportunity for Ireland and while competition will be fierce for what is one of the most prized events in world sport, we will leave no stone unturned in putting together a world class case for Ireland to host what would be a hugely successful Rugby World Cup in 2023.
“We already have unqualified support from every quarter, with both Governments fully behind the bid. At this juncture I would like to thank Ministers Paschal Donohoe and Michael Ring and Ministers Arlene Foster and Carál Ní Chuilín for their unstinting support to date. I also look forward to working with Minister Jonathan Bell in the coming years.
“Ireland’s record in supporting international events and fixtures shows that we could look forward to full stadia throughout the tournament with the perfect mix of stadia in place, from intimate venues suitable for pool matches, right up to Croke Park with its 82,000 capacity, and all within easy travelling distance of one another.
“As a well established international tourism destination, we can comfortably handle significant numbers of travelling supporters, providing them with ease of access and a mix of accommodation to meet every visitor’s needs.
“Finally, given our proximity to major rugby markets, timeline location and the array of major international firms with European bases here I believe Ireland would deliver a highly successful commercial event.”
Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, Paschal Donohoe TD, said: “Since we launched our bid to host the Rugby World Cup in 2023, the hard work has begun in earnest. Today marks another stage in a journey that will hopefully end with a successful bid.
“The Oversight Board will bring together all the key partners and ensure that the best possible bid is lodged with World Rugby to bring the Rugby World Cup to Ireland.
“The bid has the full support of both Governments and we are working very closely together and with the IRFU. The Board, under the leadership of Dick Spring, with the support of David Dobbin, will provide leadership and strategic direction to the Bid Team and I look forward to working with them.”
Minister for Enterprise Trade and Investment, Jonathan Bell MLA, commented: “It is important that we have a strong team to deliver a winning bid for 2023 and I am sure both Dick Spring and David Dobbin will oversee and guide the bid process in an exceptionally professional manner.
“The inclusion of the world’s most-capped international rugby player, Brian O’Driscoll, as Bid Ambassador also lends extra rugby prestige to the board.
“Northern Ireland has already proven it has what it takes to host world class sporting events with the successful staging of the World Police & Fire Games, Irish Open and the Giro d’Italia. I am confident the hosting of RWC 2023 would be a spectacular success drawing visitors and travelling supporters from across the globe.
“With home supporters consistently setting records for attending matches, I am certain we can provide a festival of rugby and sporting excellence. I look forward to working with the board and seeing the developing bid proposals over the coming months.”