RUGBY WORLD CUP 2023
SA reminds World Rugby Council to play according to rules
SA Rugby CE Jurie Roux has reminded World Rugby Council delegates of their fiduciary responsibility to vote for Rugby World Cup 2023 hosts according to the outcome of the recommendation of an independent technical committee.
France, Ireland and SA have bid for the tournament and a final World Rugby Council vote will take place on November 15 to ratify the choice of host.
SA got an overall score of 78.97% after a lengthy and comprehensive evaluation by the independent technical committee. France scored 75.88% and Ireland came in with 72.25% on a selection of weighted criteria.
But Ireland and France have both publicly questioned the outcome of the evaluation and vowed to fight on.
Roux has urged World Rugby Council members to show integrity and vote in accordance with the technical committee’s recommendations and it appears World Rugby’s hierarchy is demanding the same.
World Rugby issued a public reprimand to the Fédération Française de Rugby on Saturday after its president Bernard Laporte launched a scathing attack on the outcomes of the technical committee report.
The integrity of the entire sport and its bidding process would be called into question if the technical committee’s decision were ignored at a vote.
Roux subtly reminded World Rugby Council’s 39 delegates that by agreeing to a transparent selection process they had a commitment to vote according to the technical committee’s recommendation.
"We still have a vote to come on the 15th of November. Different people have different opinions but they have a fiduciary responsibility at that meeting to act accordingly," Roux said.
"We hope that sanity will prevail because an independent process is there for a very specific reason — to keep it totally independent.
"It would now be very difficult for any federation to go against this independent outcome because it would [be to] laugh in the face of transparency and process."
As for the next 10 days, Roux said there was little that could be done now. "It’s clear that at this stage there is no lobbying allowed," he said. "We all submitted our bids and had our opportunity to present them to the World Rugby Council.
"You are allowed to make public statements. You are also allowed to evaluate the report and make statements based on those evaluations.
"We have maintained the moral high ground throughout this process by not going to individual unions but rather presented to councils and through collective bargaining processes where all the other unions were involved," Roux said.
"For each and every statement other unions are making, we could probably deliver a similar statement but we won’t go there. We believe our bid was the best and that belief was vindicated by an independent technical committee."
But Laporte told Reuters.: "How come we are less well marked than SA on hotels?"
"They’re saying there are not enough hotel rooms in St Etienne. They hosted Euro 2016 matches, there are 1,500 rooms there. It’s nonsense."
Laporte also questioned the independence of the evaluation panel. It appears, though, that he never publicly expressed his concerns about its make-up prior to the outcome of the technical committee report.
"World Rugby has implemented a transparent, objective, professional and robust host selection process," a statement from World Rugby has said.