The Rugby World Cup 2023 host selection process has gathered momentum with the launch of the applicant phase.
The process to identify the host of one of the world’s biggest sporting events kicked off last year and now moves to a key information-gathering stage on the road to confirmation of the host union by the World Rugby Council in November 2017.
France, Ireland, Italy and South Africa have engaged in the process since formally expressing an interest to bid to World Rugby in May last year.
The application phase, the second stage of the detailed three-phase information gathering and evaluation process, follows an initial period of education and consultation, including detailed briefings and participation in the Rugby World Cup 2015 observer programme designed to maximise knowledge on event hosting and benefits.
This important phase, which provides information exchange on key areas such as rights, benefits of hosting, the evaluation criteria and selection process and high level requirements, has two key objectives:
i) provide applicants with the detailed information required to develop their bid
ii) provide World Rugby with the information required to be satisfied that all prospective hosts are able to meet the mandatory minimum standards for staging a successful Rugby World Cup 2023
The process is also an opportunity to establish relationships and understand the economic, tourism and rugby benefits that can be derived from hosting one of the world’s biggest sporting events along with information on the process, and a revised hosting framework which aims to create more unified partnerships, more effective operations and stronger commercial outcomes for World Rugby and the hosting country.
Applicants have also been provided with the criteria for evaluation. The criteria are based on World Rugby’s seven priority objectives for RWC 2023 which are:
- Venues and infrastructure commensurate with a top-tier major event
- Comprehensive and enforceable public and private sector guarantees
- A commercially successful event with a fully-funded, robust financial model
- Operational excellence through an integrated and experienced delivery team
- A vision that engages and inspires domestic and international audiences and contributes to the growth of rugby at all levels
- An enabling environment of political and financial stability that respects the diversity of Rugby World Cup’s global stakeholders
- An environment and climate suited to top-level sport in a geography that allows maximum fan mobility
As part of the process, the unions will also supply World Rugby with an overview of key tournament deliverables such as finance, venues and intended governance support.
The applicant submissions are due by 1 September, 2016 and will be evaluated by a World Rugby Technical Review Group. The outcomes of the evaluation will be independently assessed to ensure a fair and consistent approach. Applicants that meet the criteria outlined will move to the candidate phase on 1 November, 2016.
With Rugby World Cup 2015 widely heralded as the biggest and best tournament to date, setting new attendance, viewership, fan-engagement, competition and economic impact records, anticipation is high as to who will win the right to host one of the world’s most prestigious sporting events.
World Rugby Chairman Bernard Lapasset said: “Rugby World Cup 2015 was the biggest sporting event of 2015 and the biggest and best Rugby World Cup ever, showcasing our sport and its character-building values to record audiences around the world. From competition and attendances to legacy and economic impact, Rugby World Cup 2015 broke records on every level.
“Great events are built on strong partnerships and this process represents a major milestone in the planning and preparation phase for unions and supporting government agencies who intend to bid for Rugby World Cup 2023.”
Rugby World Cup Tournament Director Alan Gilpin added: “We are delighted with the strong level of serious interest from unions and governments in Rugby World Cup 2023 at this early stage, which highlights the enormous hosting appeal of Rugby World Cup as a low-investment, high-return economic, social and sporting driver and we welcome further dialogue as the process progresses. The work we have done with The Sports Consultancy gives us every confidence that we are running a very professional, fair and transparent process, which is an important objective for World Rugby.
“Rugby World Cup must continue to inspire, to reach out and attract new participants and audiences and deliver the financial platform for rugby to continue its record-breaking growth. It must also incentivise and excite host countries and we have undertaken a complete review of the hosting model to strengthen the partnership between host and owner and further the benefits for all as we enter an exciting new era for our sport.”