Door still open for RWC 2023

2016-05-09 11:15
Fikile Mbalula (Gallo)

Cape Town - The good news for rugby lovers is that government has not ruled out the possibility of South Africa hosting the World Cup in 2023. 

Sports minister Fikile Mbalula last month banned the federations in control of rugby, cricket, athletics and netball in South Africa from bidding for or hosting any major sporting events. 

This followed the release of the Eminent Persons Group (EPG) report that revealed that all four of those federations had failed in meeting their transformation targets. 

With South Africa, Ireland, Italy and France the shortlisted candidates to be potential hosts, the ban could not have come at a worse time for SA Rugby. 

According to World Rugby, tender information will this month be released to the four potential host nations who will then have until June to send the completed documentation back. 

Mbalula, when asked by Sport24 if SA Rugby would be allowed to engage in that process, did not give a clear answer. 

But the suggestion was that, because SA Rugby had expressed an interest in hosting the tournament before the ban, they could still engage. 

"At the time when we imposed the ban, there were other contractual obligations that these federations already had and we will weigh up in terms of that as to their commitment in meeting the targets," said Mbalula. 

The sports minister then pointed to the Sevens World Series that is hosted in Cape Town as an example.

"How can the minister kill such a nice party of the Sevens?" Mbalula posed. 

One thing that is certain is that all eyes are on SA Rugby to transform, and Mbalula implied that a lack of progression would likely result in the ban taking full affect. 

"You must be rest assured that if there is no movement upwards in terms of what needs to be done it will be very difficult for the minister to support anything going forward," he said.

"In this particular instance we weigh up in relation to the commitments that people have made.

"I'm going to see them ... I've seen them before. I'm not interested to meet people over a coffee table ... I want a structured meeting to understand. 

"If there is no movement and commitment from the boards of those federations it is going to be impossible for us to move ... the ban in totality, will apply."

A final decision from World Rugby on the 2023 World Cup hosts is expected in May 2017, the same month that the next EPG report is expected.


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