World Rugby have finally reacted to criticism of its World Cup bid process by agreeing that the hosts for the 2027 and 2031 tournaments will be decided by an open electronic vote following the controversial award to France of the 2023 tournament.
South Africa had arrived in London in November 2017 as the recommended bid following a lengthy pre-vote evaluation process but they were ousted by the French in a secret three-way battle that also left Ireland fuming and vowing not to bid again due to the convoluted process.
Three years later, World Rugby have vowed to be clear up its act and ensure that a bid process that will run from February 2021 through to May 2022 will be fully transparent and won’t be the subject of the damaging criticism that arose last time.
A World Rugby statement released on Tuesday read: “The World Rugby council has approved a progressive package of recommendations by the Rugby World Cup board that reflects the organisation’s ambition to select future men’s and women’s Rugby World Cup hosts via a transparent, best-practice host selection process.
“The council, at its interim meeting last week, confirmed the awarding of rugby’s flagship women’s (2025 and 2029) and men’s (2027 and 2031) Rugby World Cups will be determined by an open vote following consideration of a risk-based technical evaluation.
"The back row, Underhill and Curry, what did they make, 7,400 tackles or something between them? It's just madness"
— RugbyPass (@RugbyPass) November 24, 2020
“The key decisions taken by the council are: (1) The council will consider a risk-based evaluation of candidate bids by the Rugby World Cup board and independent experts, rather than a recommendation;
(2) The awarding of the next two men’s and women’s Rugby Worlds Cups will be determined by an open electronic vote (the results of which will be published);
(3) Where the decision involves only single nation bids, no bidder will vote in the award decision (as previously);
(4) Where the decision involves a joint nation bid versus a single nation bid, the following process will apply: Both the single nation and joint nation bid unions may vote. The single nation bidder will retain its existing council vote allocation. Voting rights for a joint nation bid will be capped at a maximum of three votes (being the maximum number of votes that any union represented on Council is entitled to).
“These decisions reflect best-practice in major sports event host selection and will ensure Rugby World Cup is accessible and attractive to a wide range of potential hosts when the process kicks off next year and ensure an outcome that is great for the host nations and great for the global game.”
Australia are thought to be the early favourites to host the 2027 event, with America tipped as a strong contender in 2031.
“World Rugby chairman Bill Beaumont said: “In my second term, I have strived to implement key governance enhancements that inject further transparency, clarity and consistency into our decision-making processes and Rugby World Cup is at the centre of that strategy as our flagship men’s and women’s event and a major driver of revenue.
“The decision taken by my council colleagues will ensure that we are able to advance with a world-class host selection process that will deliver a robust ten-year growth strategy for the sport as we collectively look to rebound from the pandemic and optimise revenue certainty for reinvestment in the sport at all levels.”
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— RugbyPass (@RugbyPass) November 19, 2020
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