Ireland Considering Legal Action Against World Rugby Following RWC 2023 Snub
World Rugby may face legal action from Ireland, following their controversial recommendation that South Africa should host the 2023 Rugby World Cup.
IRFU chief executive Phillip Browne has written a letter to World Rugby CEO Brett Gosper, raising a number of serious concerns in relation to the evaluation report that ranked South Africa significantly higher in a number of key areas.
Sources close to The Times say Ireland are deeply unhappy, and all option are currently being considered, including potential legal action against rugby’s governing body.
A letter, from Philip Browne has been sent to all the unions, which has been seen The Times, that raises a number of issues relating to South Africa’s high marks in the report in four areas.
Firstly it questions how South Africa were given the highest marks for stadiums and ticketing despite “very clear examples in recent times of starkly empty stadia in South Africa for significant fixtures”. It adds: “The evaluation report does not appear to address this in any meaningful way.”
The letter also queries the letter fails to address concerns properly about South Africa being stripped of the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Durban after failing to meet commitments. The report stated that “SA Rugby confirmed that this matter is not relevant to RWC 2023 hosting.”
Ireland also quiz World Rugby in the letter in relation to the security rankings of each nation in the report. It asks asks if a “world class security organisation” was used in the process. All three countries were rated equally for security despite the high rate of violent crime in South Africa and several recent terrorist attacks in France.
The final point in the letter is in relation to the £120 millions tournament fee where South Africa once again came out on top. The letter states:
“We are concerned regarding the evaluation of financial commitments and guarantees, given South Africa’s current sovereign credit rating . . . which is defined as speculative grade (sometimes referred to as ‘junk’).”
Browne also told The Times:
“We felt we have had no choice but to rebut some of the inaccuracies in the report. We have spent five years working on this and have spent a significant amount of money, time and effort on this bid.”