The Irish Rugby Football Union, on Friday, formally announced its intention to submit a bid to host the 2023 Rugby World Cup in Ireland. The announcement was made in conjunction with the Irish Government and the Northern Ireland Executive, both of whom pledged their support for the tournament bid. Speaking at the event, which took place at a function in The Royal School, Armagh, the Taoiseach, Enda Kenny, TD, said, “I am delighted to formally announce the Government’s support, in conjunction with the Northern Ireland Executive, to formally back the IRFU’s bid to host the 2023 Rugby World Cup. Ireland will put together a winning bid that will be impossible to resist. We have the fans, the stadiums, and the accessibility to make it a World Cup to remember. Irish people love our sport. We are passionate about sport and we celebrate it. We want to share the Irish sporting experience with the world by inviting the world to Ireland. I’m absolutely confident that Ireland will host the 2023 Rugby World Cup. The Government will provide its full support to make it happen.” Northern Ireland First Minister Peter Robinson added, “I fully support this bid by the IRFU to bring an elite international sporting event to the home of one of the power houses of world rugby. It would be a tremendous achievement to see the IRFU host the Rugby World Cup 2023. This bid shows the ambition of the Northern Ireland Executive and our determination to bring world class international sporting events to Northern Ireland. Northern Ireland has demonstrated that whatever the event, whatever the occasion, we deliver. Regardless of whether it is cycling, golf, the World Police and Fire Games and now rugby, I have no doubt that this will be a resounding success both on and off the field. Infrastructure is key to this bid and the Northern Ireland Executive has already invested £14.7 million in the redevelopment of the home of Ulster rugby to redevelop and expand the capacity of the stadium. World class players require world class facilities and we have that at Kingspan.”
In formally announcing the IRFU’s intention to bid for the 2023 Rugby World Cup Philip Browne, Chief Executive, Irish Rugby Football Union said, “The Irish Rugby Football Union believes that Ireland, and its people, will make the perfect hosts for the 2023 Rugby World Cup. The Rugby World Cup is one of the world’s major sporting events and the IRFU has been a central supporter of the tournament since its inauguration in 1987. In addition, Ireland has played a major part in the development of rugby football internationally. Stretching back to the Union’s formation in 1879, and right throughout the modern era, Irish Rugby has supplied a series of inspirational players and administrators to the international game. We believe it is opportune for us now to put forward Ireland’s undoubted credentials to host world rugby’s showpiece. The IRFU thanks both Governments for the enthusiasm and unstinting support they have shown in getting this project off the ground. I would also wish to acknowledge the hard work of the authorities North and South, particularly the group chaired by Hugo MacNeill, and the Ministers in both administrations who have dedicated their time and resources in assisting us to arrive at this point. I have no doubt but that Ireland can present a Rugby World Cup which would leave a truly positive and indelible mark on the game and the world’s perception of it.”
The bid process will involve the development of a detailed programme, covering match schedules and venues, accommodation, international access, internal transport, communications infrastructure and community involvement. It is anticipated that the delivery of a world class bid will cost €1.5 million. The GAA has previously agreed that it would make its stadia available for the staging of 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 (formerly the International Rugby Board). 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 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 mid 2017.