MP slams Welford Road decision
October 19, 2012
The decision to omit Welford Road from the list of potential World Cup venues continues to draw criticism © Getty Images
The row over Welford Road's omission from the list of potential 2015 Rugby World Cup venues was raised in the House of Commons on Thursday.
The biggest club rugby ground in the country failed to make the next round of the selection process due to concerns over the size of the pitch and other facilities issues leaving Gloucester's Kingholm as the only traditional club ground among the 17 venues in the running to play a part in the 48-match tournament.
The Press Association reports that Jon Ashworth, the MP for Leicester South, described the decision as "absolutely ridiculous" in a question to Andrew Lansley, the leader of the house during the weekly business statement.
Ashworth said: "I am particularly concerned that we make future sporting events such as the Rugby World Cup in 2015 a great success. Would he (Commons leader Andrew Lansley) agree with me that it is absolutely ridiculous that Leicester Tigers' Welford Road has been excluded from the list of venues that will be used?"
Lansley did not respond to the specific point raised by Ashworth, but he said the Backbench Business Committee could look at scheduling a debate on sporting matters generally.
Ashworth had already written to the sports minister Hugh Robertson about the issue and also spoke directly to Ross Young, the chief operating officer for the tournament's delivery company England Rugby 2015.
Young said: "For the last two tournaments, the hosts have been set a number of minimum criteria. If you couldn't meet any or one of the sporting criteria, you wouldn't go on to the next stage."
There will be two standard pitch sizes in place for the tournament. According to ER2015, even the smaller of the configurations - 95metres by 68metres - would not fit into Welford Road without removing three rows of seats.
The Rugby World Cup evaluation committee also decided Welford Road did not meet the minimum requirements with regards to changing room, anti-doping, broadcast and media facilities.
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