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England want to be sole hosts of 2007 World Cup
April 1, 2000

England want to act as sole hosts of the Rugby World Cup in 2007 - but could be challenged by France for the rights to stage the tournament, the International Rugby Board confirmed on Saturday.

England acted as official hosts in 1991 but then the matches were spread around the other home Unions and France.

"There has been an expression of interest both by England and France to host the Rugby World Cup in 2007," said Vernon Pugh, Chairman of the IRB in Dublin.

Pugh added: "That decision could be made in 2002 and certainly before the next World Cup which takes place in Australia and New Zealand in 2003."

The IRB also said they hoped rugby's "grannygate" three will discover their fate within the next 14 days.

Welsh duo Shane Howarth and Brett Sinkinson and Scotland's Dave Hilton will have their cases heard by an independent judicial panel.

"The panel will be meeting within the next 10 days and they could come down with a decision a matter of days after," said the IRB's Chief Executive officer Stephen Baines.

"Hopefully the matter in terms of both the WRU and the SRU could be resolved within the next two weeks."

Baines added that the eligibility row involving the trio had been "damaging" but procedures being introduced by the IRB should ensure it does not happen again.

Howarth and Sinkinson have been stopped from playing for Wales in recent
games because of doubts over claims they qualify via a grandfather, while

Hilton was withdrawn from Scotland's squad for Sunday's Six Nations game against England for the same reason.

Baines said: "It's been damaging for individual Unions in terms of their own system of enforcement and that's something the IRB regrets.

"I am sure the Unions will now make sure if they have not got in place a rigorous system they will now do so.

"We have managed to put in place a system whereby it won't happen again."

The IRB confirmed that the independent panel will have the powers to act against either the Unions or individuals.

Meanwhile, Rugby World Cup (RWC) chairman Leo William expressed his delight at figures announced concerning last year's tournament.

The figures were presented to the Annual Meeting of the Council of the IRB by RWC director and New Zealand Council member Rob Fisher on behalf of William.

They showed total income of 69.7 million pounds (111.5 million dollars) and net revenue of 47 million pounds (75.2 million dollars), 600,000 pounds 960,000 dollars) over the original budget forecast.

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