Ireland’s biggest rivals to host the 2023 Rugby World Cup, South Africa, will not be permitted to bid for the event, according to the South African Sports Minister Fikile Mbalula.
Mbalula has suspended the rights of the South African Rugby Union to bid for international events, along with the country’s cricket, athletics and netball bodies.
South Africa has long been viewed as Ireland’s main rival to host the 2023 World Cup so the news will be seen as a boost to Ireland’s chances of staging the event.
The deadline for unions to confirm their intent to tender a bid for the tournament is June this year, and the suspension of bidding rights in South Africa will not be re-examined until November.
Mbalula has made the decision after what he claims is a lack of transformation within the sporting bodies.
SARU responded to the announcement with a statement which claimed that they still believe that will be able to bid for the 2023 World Cup.
“We understand and support the Minister’s urgency in addressing the issue of transformation,” said Jurie Roux, CEO of SA Rugby.
“There is no question that we have more work to do and we could be moving faster, but our sport has undergone a major overhaul in how we do business and how we measure ourselves in the past two or three years and we have definitely made great progress.
“Transformation is a key strategic imperative for SA Rugby to remain competitive and to survive in the sports landscape in our country.
“Our barometer for 2015 shows that we have achieved our target in 11 out of 13 dimensions as agreed with government.
“We have made further progress on and off the field in 2016 to date and over the coming months our commitment to transformation will become even more evident.
“We are confident that the suspension will be lifted at the next reporting of the group.” [RTE]