PtG Article 30.04.2009

Bidding dropped due to financial crisis

Rugby hit hard by withdrawals: Neither Australia nor Scotland will be able to go through with the bidding process of the 2015 and 2019 Rugby Union World Cups.

The bidding for the 2015 and 2019 rugby union world cups has been hit by two withdrawals in a matter of days.

Australia recently told the International Rugby Board (IRB) that it could not afford to host the 2015 competition and an agreement between Scotland and England has now fallen apart.

“We have always stated that we believe that a four home Unions bid would have been a strong bid and one which would have been positively received by world rugby and indeed the IRB,” said Gordon McKie, chief executive of the Scottish Rugby Union, which pulled out citing concerns that England wanted to bid solo.

Matches in the 1991 and 1999 rugby world cups were spread across England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales but an attempt to repeat that in bids for the 2015 and 2019 fell apart months ago.

A mooted bid between the Celtic Nations - Scotland, Ireland and Wales – never materialized and the SRU has quit despite the Scottish government offering to underwrite part of the £80 million guarantee that the International Rugby Board (IRB) requires from bidders.

Only England of the four Home Nations has the stadia to stage the 16-team event alone and the country remains in the race to stage the 2015 and 2019 world cups, which will be decided on by the IRB on July 28.

The Australian Rugby Union was deterred from a 2015 bid by the IRB’s insistence that bidders underwrite the costs.

"I have got to say the numbers are horrendously difficult to justify," ARU chief executive John O'Neill told CNN. "In the event we are not in the race [for 2019], Japan will have our support."

Bids from Japan, Italy and South Africa have been underwritten by their respective government’s, while UK sports minister Andy Burnham backed England’s initial bid.