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Ireland consider 2023 World Cup bid
ESPN Staff
November 19, 2013
Dublin's Aviva Stadium would be central to any bid for the 2023 World Cup © PA Photos
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Ireland's sports minister Leo Varadkar has confirmed the country is pondering a bid for the 2023 World Cup.

Varadkar will seek approval from his cabinet on Tuesday as they contemplate putting together a proposal to scoop rugby's global gathering. The competition would be played on both sides of the border and would include both rugby union and Gaelic stadia.

"It's probably the biggest event a country like Ireland could do, we're too small for the Olympics and the Fifa World Cup and for that reason it would engender enormous national pride," Varadkar said.

"The second thing is that even during the very difficult times of the Troubles, rugby in Ireland was a unifying sport. For us in Ireland, it would just be a symbol of how far we've come from the bad times to the better times now."

Reports from Reuters claim both South Africa and France are contemplating tabling a proposal. But Ireland, who are working with Northern Ireland on the bid, have the backing of the Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA) which would give them access to Croke Park and 10 other grounds.

Early predictions say a World Cup could boost Ireland's economy by €800m. Any bid would need ambassadors and for Irish Rugby Football Union (IRFU) CEO Philip Browne, according to the Irish Times, "the backing of people like Brian O'Driscoll and Paul O'Connell is "very important" for marketing the proposal"

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