Australia ditch rugby World Cup bid

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The Independent Online

The Australian Rugby Union has withdrawn from the bidding to host the 2015 or 2019 World Cups saying it cannot accept the terms demanded by the tournament's organising company Rugby World Cup Ltd.

"Despite the enormous success of the 2003 Rugby World Cup throughout Australia, and the desire to return the game's showpiece event to these shores, ARU has confirmed it cannot reasonably accept the risk of committing unconditionally to the provision of the Fundamental Tournament Guarantees required by Rugby World Cup Ltd," the ARU said in a statement today.

The ARU, which co-hosted the inaugural World Cup in 1987, as well as staging the 2003 edition, said guarantees to RWC Ltd include fees of £80m for 2015 and £96m for 2019.

Under conditions imposed by RWC Ltd, the host nation must also bear all costs of the tournament, relying only on ticket sales to recoup its expenses, the ARU said.

England, which hosted the 1991 and 1999 tournaments, announced yesterday that it would bid to stage the 2015 Cup, probably in partnership with Wales. Japan, which was beaten out by New Zealand to host the 2011 tournament, has already launched a 2015 bid and South Africa, the 1995 host, has expressed interest in staging either the 2015 or 2019 Cups.

The IRB will announce the successful bidders for 2015 and 2019 in July.

The ARU said it was unable to provide the guarantees necessary to host the 2015 Cup.

"Rather than submit a tender that would be ruled ineligible, ARU has reluctantly decided to withdraw from the tender process for both tournaments," it said.

"ARU is extremely disappointed but the risk associated with underwriting guarantees for tournaments six and 10 years into the future would not be in the best interests of Australian rugby," the Australian union said.

"Risk factors include fluctuating exchange rates and the uncertainty and unpredictability of the world economy."

This story was sourced from The New Zeraland Herald.