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Pickering endorses RWC bid process
Scrum.com
July 15, 2008

Six Nations and Welsh Rugby Union chairman David Pickering has spoken out in defence of the INternational Rugby Board's decision to award the next two World Cup simultaneously.

Last week the International Rugby Board Council decided to seek bids for hosting both the 2015 and 2019 Rugby World Cups with a decision expected in July next year.

In addition the IRB has put a price tag of £100m and £120m respectively from the hosts of the 2015 and 2019 events.

The 2007 World Cup in France was the most successful in the tournament's 20-year history according to the IRB figures, with 2.25 million fans attending the matches, up to 4.2 billion watching worldwide on television, and a reported economic impact of £3.18bn in France.

Despite the success of the last event the proposed cost of the tournament has been criticised by some countries with Australia Rugby Union boss John O'Neill the most vociferous of those.

Media reports said that Australian IRB delegates were the only ones to argue at the meeting against the excessive tournament fees that is fears will mean only rich nations like France and England will be able to host future tournaments.

In contrast the Fifa Football World Cup, the ICC Cricket World Cup and the Olympic Games do not charge the host nation.

"There is a process to determine major issues like the awarding of World Cups and the adoption of new laws," commented Pickering.

"On the issue of the system of awarding World Cups it is now important we respond to recent published articles in the Australian media which have jointly criticised some British nations.

"We would prefer not to respond to this, but due to much, sometimes inaccurate, speculation we have no other choice.

"We confirm that at the recent IRB meeting in Hong Kong there was only one option that had a proposer and a seconder regarding the awarding of RWC 2015/19 and that we, like all other members of the IRB, supported this option. This will allow for the maximum support of the world game to be attained through the RWC.

"It will ensure that RWC success is spread worldwide.

"The World Cup debate has been held and the democratic process has been fulfilled properly for the good of the game. It is important the integrity of that process is respected by everyone involved."

England, Japan and South Africa are reportedly interested in hosting the 2015 event with Australia considering a bid for the 2019 competition.

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