Japan confident of profitable World Cup
June 7, 2011
Japan head coach John Kirwan © Getty Images
Tatsuzo Yabe, the Japan Rugby Football Union (JRFU) chairman, has dismissed suggestions that the 2019 Rugby World Cup will not be profitable due to the cost of reconstruction after the recent tsunami and earthquake.
The tournament will be the first hosted in Asia, with the International Rugby Board (IRB) hopeful of a large return as they seek to expand the game into new markets.
Yabe told Reuters: "The disaster has not had effect at all on the financial guarantees we have secured. I don't believe there will be a problem. When it was decided to hold the 2019 World Cup in Japan, [profitability] was the biggest question of course.
"Since the disaster, the International Rugby Board have kept faith in the financial guarantees."
The National Agency for the Advancement of Sports and Health has pledged $43 million to the JRFU and the country has nine World Cup venues lined up.
"[Yokohama] can hold over 70,000 and is the biggest on the list of candidate venues," Yabe said. "We would like to do something for the people of northeast Japan. Sendai's J-League stadium is on the list, or we could build a new stadium there.
"But as of now building a stadium there is not in our plans. You can construct a stadium in three years but the budget is tight."
Following the previous World Cup, where Japan drew one game and lost three, Yabe has set John Kirwan's side goals for the next three World Cups.
Yabe credited Kirwan for the dramatic improvements the 'Brave Blossoms' have made since the All Black great took charge in 2007.
"At the last World Cup we drew one and lost three games," Yabe said. "This year I'd like to see us beat Tonga and Canada - as a minimum. In 2019 we will be at home so we want Japan to be in the knockout stages at the very least. We'll be looking at reaching the last eight."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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