Picture: THINKSTOCK
Picture: THINKSTOCK

SA Rugby will be waiting anxiously on Tuesday for the announcement of World Rugby’s preferred candidate to host the World Cup in 2023, which is a crucial step towards winning the bid.

The official announcement of whether France, Ireland or SA will host the World Cup will be made on November 15 when the World Rugby Council members vote to decide the host country.

But it would be highly irregular if the votes went contrary to the recommendation of the 2023 bid evaluation report, to be released on Tuesday.

Publicly releasing the outcome of the appraisal by a panel of experts from within rugby and other professional spheres makes the bidding process transparent and minimises horse-trading for votes on November 15.

SA’s bid has met, and in most cases exceeded, all of World Rugby’s requirements. Most crucially the government, which initially held back on supporting the bid under former sports minister Fikile Mbalula, has guaranteed World Rugby revenue of £160m (R2.9bn), which is £40m more than the minimum requirement.

SA’s bid book also projects record sales of 2.9-million tickets, while all the stadia are already built — a legacy of hosting the 2010 Fifa World Cup.

A team of experts has carried out the evaluation against weighted criteria that reflect World Rugby’s key objectives.

The host candidate that achieves the highest score will be recommended by the Rugby World Cup board as the 2023 host. Independent consultant The Sports Consultancy has scrutinised every aspect of the evaluation to ensure that all candidates have been treated fairly and that the agreed criteria have been consistently applied.

The weighted criteria agreed by the Rugby World Cup board and council and communicated to host candidates, based on World Rugby’s objectives, are the following:

Venues and infrastructure commensurate with a top-tier major event;

Comprehensive and en-forceable public and private
sector guarantees;

A commercially successful event with a fully funded, robust financial model;

Extensive operational excellence through an integrated and experienced delivery team;

A vision that engages and inspires domestic and international audiences and contributes to growth of rugby at all levels;

An enabling environment of political and financial stability that respects the diversity of the Rugby World Cup’s global stakeholders; and

An environment and climate suited to top-level sport in a geography that allows maximum fan mobility.

When votes are cast on November 15, bidding countries Ireland, France and SA are unable to vote.

Therefore there are 39 votes in total remaining.

Those eligible to vote in the secret ballot will be Australia
(3 votes), England (3), New Zealand (3), Scotland (3), Argentina (3), Italy (3), Canada (1), Japan (2), Georgia (1), Romania (1),
US (1), Asia Rugby (2), Oceania Rugby (2), Rugby Africa (2), Rugby Americas North (2), Rugby Europe (2) and Sudamerica Rugby (2).

In the event that none of the host candidates receives a simple majority in the first round, the candidate with the least number of votes will drop out before a second ballot.

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