An Taoiseach Enda Kenny TD together with Jonathan Bell MLA, NI Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Investment, Paschal Donohoe TD, Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, and Michael Ring TD, Minister of State for Tourism and Sport, attended a meeting of Ireland’s Rugby World Cup 2023 Oversight Board on Wednesday.
The group reaffirmed the Governments’ commitment to the project and expressed their desire to see Ireland win the bid to host the 2023 Rugby World Cup.
Addressing the meeting, An Taoiseach Enda Kenny TD said: “The Rugby World Cup is one of the world’s major sporting events and winning the right to host it involves an extremely competitive process which will demand extraordinary effort, focus and ingenuity by the entire island if we are to be successful.
“I have no doubt that we can deliver on the requirements to make a Rugby World Cup in Ireland a hugely attractive, fun destination for rugby supporters from throughout the world with matches hosted across a unique combination of modern, yet wonderfully atmospheric stadia.”
Minister Jonathan Bell MLA added: “Both my Department and I will do all we can to provide the necessary assistance in developing a successful winning bid. Our supporters consistently set records for attendance at matches and undoubtedly the staging of the RWC 2023 would draw visitors and supporters from around the world. I am confident working together we can stage a spectacular, world class sporting tournament.”
In response, the Chairman of the Oversight Board, Dick Spring, stated: “The challenge we face is great but it is a challenge we relish. As a board we are charged with delivering a superlative bid on behalf of Ireland and I am fully confident that we will deliver on this.
“Beyond that I am confident that a 2023 Rugby World Cup in Ireland would be a phenomenal success, both culturally and financially, given the unqualified support the bid has from the public and Governments, together with the passion of Irish people for sport, which time and again manifests itself in sell out sporting events across the island.”
The role of the Oversight Board is to 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.
OVERSIGHT BOARD MEMBERS:
Dick Spring, former Tánaiste and Ireland rugby international; Chairman.
Dr David Dobbin, Group Chief Executive, Dale Farm and Chairman of the Management Committee of the Ulster Branch IRFU; Vice-Chairman.
Brian O’Driscoll, one of the world’s most-capped international rugby players, board member with a title of Bid Ambassador.
Hugo MacNeill, who was Chair of the joint RWC Working Group, serves on the Board. Hugo is a former Ireland rugby international with a successful career in business.
Philip Browne, Chief Executive of the IRFU.
Páraic Duffy, Director General, GAA.
Tom Grace, former Ireland international and Lion, current Chairman of the Lions Board and Honorary Treasurer IRFU.
Shane Logan, CEO, Ulster Rugby.
Padraig Slattery, Executive Chairman, PSG Communications Group.
The tender process will involve the development of a detailed response to the tender documents issued by World Rugby in May 2016. This will involve the provision of a detailed programme, covering match schedules, venues, accommodation, international access, internal transport, security, communications infrastructure and community involvement among other things. It is anticipated that the delivery of a world class bid will cost €;1.5 million.
The GAA has previously agreed that it will make its stadia available for the staging of RWC matches and it will now be up to the Bid team to put together a specific match schedule in line with the requirements of World Rugby.
The decision to appoint a host union for a Rugby World Cup is taken by World Rugby, the international governing body for rugby, following a very detailed Host Selection Process which culminates in a meeting of all member Unions at which the final decision is made. It is expected the decision on Rugby World Cup 2023 will be taken in May 2017. Tender submissions are required by February 2017.
The Rugby World Cup has a broadcast exposure of more than 20,000 hours in over 200 countries. The audience has grown exponentially since the first World Cup in 1987 drew a world television audience of 230 million. The 2007 tournament, staged in France, had a cumulative world television audience of 4.2 billion while RWC 2011, staged in New Zealand, attracted 3.94 billion, which is particularly impressive, given the time zone difference from the major rugby TV markets.
Rugby World Cup 2015 is expected to attract almost 500,000 overseas visitors to the UK.