RWC 2019 final venue still undecided

2015-08-02 21:27
RWC trophy (File)

Kuala Lumpur - World Rugby officials are still undecided about where the 2019 Rugby World Cup final will be played after the Japanese government scuttled their proposal to stage the match in Tokyo's new Olympic stadium.

The final of the first Rugby World Cup in Asia was supposed to take place at the new national stadium but those plans were suddenly scrapped when Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe ordered the project be put on hold because of rising costs.

A cheaper stadium will be ready in time for the Olympics but not the World Cup, forcing World Rugby officials to find another venue and change the draft match schedule.

World Rugby officials were so caught out by the announcement that they hastily organised a meeting with the Japanese organisers on the sidelines of the International Olympic Committee Session in Malaysia.

"I think everyone was surprised by the announcement from the Prime Minister of Japan, the Olympic movement included, and we were all taken a little bit aback by that," World Rugby chief executive Brett Gosper told Reuters on Sunday.

"We had plans to use that incredible stadium, obviously for our finals and key games in World Cup 2019, so we met with the 2019 people here from Japan two days ago."

Gosper said a number of proposals had been put forward about where to play the showpiece matches but no decision had been made yet.

"We asked a lot of questions about alternative scenarios," he said. "It will probably reduce our ticket capacity to a certain extent so there are certain financial implications too, but we're discussing all of that with them."

Yokohama's 72 000-seat stadium, which hosted the 2002 soccer World Cup final between Brazil and Germany, is the favourite to replace Tokyo for rugby's showcase match but Gosper said that was still being discussed.

"We've not settled on anything yet," Gosper said. "It's certainly the biggest stadium they have so it's one of the candidates in the debate."

Read more on:    rugby

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