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Cork Independent


Ireland lose bid to host World Cup

Wednesday, 15th November, 2017 5:59pm

Ireland's failure to win the right to host the 2023 Rugby World Cup has been dubbed a major blow for Cork.

In a week where the country could do with a boost after Tuesday night's 5-1 playoff defeat to Denmark, Ireland received no sympathy from the worldwide rugby community who voted us third of three candidates in the bidding process.

France were awarded the hosting duties over second-placed South Africa, in what was seen as a surprise outcome, as South Africa had been expected to win the bid. Ireland have been dealt a double blow with France's win, meaning it unlikely we will be contenders in 2027, thanks to the proximity of the two countries. Fianna Fáil Cllr Kenneth O'Flynn said: "It's a serious blow for Cork but it's something I think we already accepted with the recommendation that came out two weeks ago.

“But we have a lot of fish to fry in Cork, it's not just the Rugby World Cup and its potential that we've lost, we need to be seriously looking at where we're going with the future of this city especially when we still don't have an events centre.

"Páirc Uí Chaoimh would have been an amazing stadium to host games in but I've great confidence that the grounds will be used, particularly for large concerts."

Fine Gael Senator Jerry Buttimer also said it was disappointing for Cork as it has Irish Independent Park and Páirc Uí Chaoimh. He said it was an economic loss for the restaurants and hotels in Cork too.

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Independent Cllr Mick Finn also said that it was a blow for the local economy.

He said: " While it wasn’t solely for that purpose, certainly one of the strategic motivations behind the development of Páirc Uí Chaoimh was with the 2023 World Cup in mind.

"The hope from the rugby fraternity and Government in Cork was to be able to showcase Páirc Uí Chaoimh to an international audience, so it’s very disappointing that that hasn’t happened.

"It’s a let-down for rugby in Cork as it seems Ireland were never at the races with this bid.

"It’s a massive blow not only to our sport, communities and fans but to the local economy."

CEO Conor Healy of Cork Chamber of Commerce said: “Losing out on the World Rugby Cup 2023 bid is a real pity. Having the tournament come to Ireland would have been a wonderful opportunity to promote the deep and rich sporting heritage across our Island, and from a Cork perspective showcase to a global audience the fantastic sporting experiences to be had at Páirc Uí Chaoimh, which was among the stadia selected to host the matches.” “Although not successful on this occasion, it was positive to see close cooperation between all stakeholders to build the case for bringing one of the world’s biggest sporting events to Ireland and I do hope to see similar collaborative efforts result in a more desirable outcome in the future.”

France last hosted the Rugby World Cup in 2007 while, if they had won, this would have been Ireland's first time as hosts. South Africa had been recommended in findings of a technical review group as the most suitable host but the World Rugby Council decided to reject this in favour of France. In order to be chosen, the successful bidder needed a majority of 20 out of the 39 remaining votes, Ireland received eight votes in the first round, France received 18 votes while South Africa, who last hosted the tournament in 1995, finished the first round on 13 votes. With Ireland dropping out, France beat South Africa by 24 votes to 15 in the second round.

Dick Spring, Chairman, Ireland 2023 Bid Oversight Board said: "We want to congratulate France on their nomination today, by World Rugby, as hosts for the 2023 Rugby World Cup. We wish them every success as they turn their attention to delivering an outstanding tournament.

“Ireland's bid is one of which all involved can be extremely proud. I would like to particularly thank the IRFU, the Irish Government, The Northern Ireland Executive, the members of the 2023 Oversight Board, those who took on ambassadorial roles for the bid, the many state bodies and, indeed, the people of Ireland, all of whom have given such incredible support to this bid.

“It has been richly rewarding to witness, and be inspired by, the fulsome cooperation between the many individuals and groups, North and South, who have given so freely to our common quest,” he said.

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