For those of you who are not that familiar with the ins and outs of rugby union, Ireland is one of the three nations who are bidding to host the third largest sporting spectacle on Earth, behind only the FIFA World Cup and the Olympic Summer Games. Some in Ireland are oblivious to this fact, which I find unacceptable and yet – another example of how rugby has failed to be marketed correctly and in a way where the masses can get behind the bid.
I strongly believe Ireland is the best choice for this tournament ahead of France and South Africa. France has hosted the tournament as recently as 2007 while South Africa hosted the FIFA World Cup in 2010 and the legacy of that competition is tainted. Ireland has never hosted a major tournament on this scale before.
Culturally there are few countries that can compete with us and Ireland has been a tourist hotspot for the last couple of decades. I’m not saying that France and South Africa are devoid of any culture, far from it. Who can forget the World Cup final in 1995 and how the first black president in South African history, Nelson Mandela, handed the William Webb Ellis trophy to Springbok captain, Francois Pienaar? It was a tournament that helped heal the wounds of a desperately divided nation right before our eyes. A truly iconic moment.
History Points to the Future
Ireland is a country that endures. There have been times in history where we have been forced from our homes and have had no choice but to leave. The plantations, the Great Famine, the Rebellions of Wolfe Tone and the Easter Rising, the Civil War and economic depression – it is not a short list. America, England, Australia, New Zealand, Canada and many more, became our adoptive countries. Most times they did not welcome us with open arms. Slowly though we became part of their cultures while never losing our own. Many pined for home but were never to return.
We are part of the World whether you like it or not. Our tournament slogan in this respect, could not be more perfect, ‘Ready for the World’. I could drone on for hours, so I’m just going to leave a link at the bottom of this article to a small advert, narrated by our very own Bob Geldof, who describes it best.
If you’re not one for sentiment, then let’s explore the numbers. Our national newspaper, the Irish Independent broke down the tournament’s financial demands into 10 aspects: transport, hotels, stadia, security, experience, finance, novelty, politics, economics, and legacy. South Africa takes hotels, due to low prices, the French lack of enticement, and the borderline illegal price hikes of Irish hotels during sporting events. It is worth noting though that this is being looked into by the government. France takes finance – of which there is no argument, numbers here don’t lie – and stadia. This is an interesting one
Ireland takes transport, security, novelty, experience, politics, economics, and legacy with little competition from our rivals. The Gaelic Athletic Association’s (GAA) support for the bid is massive and it helps that there has always been a begrudging admiration of rugby within the GAA hierarchy, which is more than can be said about the animosity for football. When the people enter the gates of some of our GAA grounds that are steeped in history, they will have an experience like no other.
The fees that are allocated to World Rugby following the conclusion of the tournament is tied in with a commitment to Wales from a 1991 agreement. France and South Africa have taken advantage of this and is probably their ace in the hole for the bid. Economically, what it could do for this country is beyond an outsiders comprehension. We live in a country where we have steadied the ship economically, but we are standing still. Sport has always been held dear in the hearts of every Irishman and Irishwoman, both home and abroad, and to have this chance to share Ireland’s love of rugby with the world would be a gift.
The overall legacy of the tournament is even more important than the financial aspect. This is where kids are inspired to take up the oval ball and run with it, just as William Ellis did all those years ago. Ireland 2023 can have that effect and join the Hall of Fame with all the great international events that has preceded it. All we need is a chance to show the world what we have to offer and we will put on the finest Rugby World Cup to date.
Should Ireland host the 2023 RWC? Let us know in the comments section!
Ready For The World
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