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Federal Government backs Australian Rugby World Cup hosting bid with further $8.8 million funding

Federal Government backs Australian Rugby World Cup hosting bid with further $8.8 million funding
October 31, 2020

The Federal Government is to commit an extra $8.8 million to help Australia secure the right to host the 2027 Rugby World Cup.

Justifying the expense, Federal Tourism Minister Simon Birmingham yesterday claimed that hosting the tournament will attract more than 200,000 international visitors and generate an estimated $2.2 billion, commenting “events of this magnitude have huge flow-on effects through the entire economy.

“While we are not in a position to welcome international visitors right now, any inroads we can make to secure large events that will bring more tourists to Australia will be critical to the overall rebound of our tourism industry.”

The last time Australia hosted the Rugby World Cup was in 2003, with the hosts losing to England in the final at Sydney’s ANZ Stadium.

Suggesting that hosting the tournament would help lift the gloom of Coronavirus, Federal Sports Minister Richard Colbeck noted “it’s been a challenging time for the Australian sporting community, with the rescheduling of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games to 2021, and a number of other high-profile sporting events cancelled or postponed.

“A successful bid will bolster the community spirit and significantly contribute to the country’s long-term recovery from COVID-19.”

While World Rugby’s decision on where the 2027 Rugby World Cup will be held has been pushed back to mid 2022, Australia has been cited at the favourite to host the tournament after assembling a high-powered bid team that includes former Prime Minister John Howard, former Governor-General Peter Cosgrove, International Olympic Committee Vice-President John Coates, former British Airways Chairman Rod Eddington, Fortescue Metals Group Chief Executive Elizabeth Gaines, Qantas senior executive Olivia Wirth and Wallabies legends Phil Kearns, John Eales and Gary Ella.

Kearns - who won two World Cups as a player - is leading the bid and welcomed the Federal Government’s commitment, stating “fundamentally it gives us the confidence to go ahead with the bid.

“It’s great that the government have acknowledged that having the World Cup here in Australia is good for Australian youth and rugby players, it’s great for Rugby Australia generally and the broader community, and it’s good for Australia full stop. It will be a genuine national event.”

Rugby Australia Chairman, Hamish McLennan added “this is a once-in-a-generation opportunity for our country and we have already made significant headway in laying the foundations for a successful bid.

“We look forward to working closely with the Australian Government over the coming months to present a compelling bid that will deliver significant economic benefit to Australia.”

The 2019 showpiece in Japan was the most economically successful Rugby World Cup ever, with over $7.5 billion generated in economic output and attracting more than 240,000 international visitors.

The Rugby World Cup is the world’s third biggest major international sporting event which reaches a global audience of 857 million rugby fans.

Rugby Australia commenced its Foundation Planning in October last year.

Lower image shows England's Jonny Wilkinson kicking the winning drop goal to secure the 2003 Rugby World Cup.

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