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Ireland enters ‘candidate’ phase for 2023 Rugby World Cup

Ireland has moved on with its bid to host the Rugby World Cup in 2023 by entering into the candidate phase of the selection process.

The bid has the backing of the governments of Northern Ireland and Southern Ireland, through the provision of financial, infrastructural and services supports.

In addition, the Gaelic Athletic Association has placed its grounds at the disposal of the tournament, a key factor in Ireland’s ability to bid for the tournament.

Currently there are 12 potential venues on Ireland’s ‘Long List’, ultimately reducing to eight to 10 venues for the tournament staging.

Rugby stadia the Aviva Stadium (Dublin), the RDS Arena (Dublin), Thomond Park (Limerick) and Ravenhill (Belfast) are on the list.

The eight GAA venues included in the bid are Croke Park (Dublin), Pairc Ui Chaoimh (Cork), Casement Park (Belfast), Fitzgerald Stadium (Kerry), Pearse Stadium (Galway), McHale Park (Mayo), Nowlan Park (Kilkenny) and Celtic Park (Derry).

The selection process will run from now until November 2017, when World Rugby will decide on the successful candidate to host the 2023 Rugby World Cup.

During that period a detailed technical evaluation of the candidates will take place, with final proposals being submitted in June and a presentation to World Rugby scheduled for October. The other candidates are France, Italy and South Africa.

Launching the next phase of the bid, Taoiseach Enda Kenny TD emphasised Ireland’s unrivalled international reputation and welcoming approach when he said:

For many years our sporting ambassadors have travelled the world bringing colour, passion and friendship to sporting events everywhere.

Now we want to bring the world to Ireland. We want the world to experience this colour, this passion, this friendship – here at home, with us. Ireland is waiting with open arms to welcome rugby fans from all over the world, to make Rugby World Cup 2023 the event of a lifetime, to deliver lifelong memories on and off the pitch. Ireland is ready for the World.

The Deputy First Minister, Martin McGuinness MLA, highlighted Ireland’s experience of hosting major sporting events:

The 2023 Rugby World Cup bid is a bid for all the people of Ireland and the Executive will make every effort to make it a winning bid. We have a proven track record of hosting major global events including the G8, Giro d’Italia, MTV Music Awards, the World Police and Fire Games, the Clipper Round The World Yacht Race and the Irish Open Golf Championship.

This is a collective effort and I commend the GAA for placing its grounds at the disposal of the tournament, a key factor in Ireland’s ability to bid for the tournament.

It is estimated some 445,000 are predicted to travel to Ireland for the tournament so it would be of immense benefit to the economy. Worldwide TV audiences for the 2015 Rugby World Cup in England reached some 4 billion people which offers global exposure money simply can’t buy.