Old Trafford out of World Cup running
April 3, 2013
Manchester United's Old Trafford home © Getty Images
Manchester United have reportedly removed Old Trafford from the running to be a venue for the 2015 Rugby World Cup.
Reports suggest that the football club have reservations over the likely damage to the playing surface along with logistical complications. It seems likely that the organisers will now turn to Manchester City's ground the Etihad Stadium and the Telegraph claims that discussions are already well under way.
England Rugby 2015 - the body in charge of organising the World Cup - had hoped to stage three games at the 76,000 capacity Old Trafford as they battle to sell 2.9million tickets as outlined in their original pledge to the International Rugby Board. The loss of the monster stadium will come as a blow to the organisers who will now have to settle for 18,000 seats less across the city.
United are installing a new pitch this summer - a Desso pitch like Wembley's which combines grass and artificial fibres - and there were concerns that rugby union games would be too damaging. The tournament is taking place in September and October 2015 and United are likely to be involved in the group stages of the Champions League at that time.
The club are also due to host rugby league's Grand Final in 2015, though league is not as hard going on pitches as union.
ER 2015 had hoped to unveil the final list of World Cup stadia on March 15 but this deadline was put back as they attempt to include the Olympic Stadium in the mix. The final announcement is now expected to be at the end of the month with the chosen grounds coming from a list which includes rugby strongholds Kingsholm and Sandy Park.
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