SA government foots bill for Rugby World Cup bid


Scott Fardy (C) of Australia is tackled by Francois Louw (L) and Marcell Coetzee (R) of South Africa during the Rugby Championship Test match between Australia and South Africa at Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane on July 18, 2015.

JOHANNESBURG - SA Rugby on Thursday thanked the government and Sports and Recreation Minister Thulas Nxesi for providing the required financial guarantees to bring the Rugby World Cup back to South Africa, in 2023.

The cabinet approved a request for guarantees to the value of R2.7-billion, a prerequisite from World Rugby to host the showpiece rugby spectacle.

“We could not take this journey alone and we’re delighted to take hands with the government as we bid to bring the Rugby World Cup back to South Africa for the first time since 1995,” said Jurie Roux, CEO of SA Rugby.

“They have been supportive of the bid for every step of the process, but this is a big moment to share a stand with the government on our shared vision. We’re very grateful to Mr Nxesi, the director-general, his department and the entire government.

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“It would be a marvellous, inspirational nation-building moment to recapture some of the excitement of 1995, but it would also have enormous practical benefits for our country.

“Hosting the Rugby World Cup in 2023 would have a R27-billion direct, indirect and induced economic impact on South Africa; R5.7-billion would flow to low-income households; 38,600 temporary or permanent jobs would be sustained and there’d be an estimated R1.4-billion tax benefit to the government,” Roux said.

Also in contention are Ireland and France.

In a statement, the Sports Ministry said, “Cabinet has approved the overall proposed package for this tournament, which is an economic bid that would minimise the demands on the fiscus as well as stimulate economic activity, employment and empowerment.

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“The tournament will contribute to stimulating our economy by supporting government priorities, especially as it relates to preferential procurement and adherence to the Sport Transformation Charter and the sharing of the profits derived. The event will further boost our tourism and hospitality sector.

“A successful bid will be a win-win for sport development, for the economy and for the nation as a whole.”

Roux reiterated that the backing of the government was an important step in the delivery of a compelling bid to host the Rugby World Cup, underlining South Africa’s determination to make it a world-class tournament.

“The final decision on hosting rights will be made on 15 November and we’ve now taken a massive step towards what will hopefully be the beginning of six years of preparation to host the biggest and most spectacular Rugby World Cup yet,” said Roux.

“When it comes to our capacity to host major international sporting events, we can deliver like no one else on Earth. But this bid is about more than what it will mean for South Africa to host the World Cup, but also about what we can do for world rugby.”

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Mark Alexander, president of SA Rugby, said that he was convinced that at the fourth time of asking (having bid for the 2011, 2015 and 2019 tournaments), South Africa had produced an unarguable case: “We believe our bid is technically the strongest of the three, with our world-class venues and training facilities, tourism infrastructure and wonderful climate.

“We will maximise the commercial benefit for World Rugby with a low-cost, high-return event in a country that has the infrastructure and major event experience to turn on a colossal event with 2.9 million match tickets available for the showpiece.”

World Rugby will announce the host nation for the 2023 Rugby World Cup on 15 November.