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Scrapping of plans for Tokyo’s Olympic Stadium leaves 2019 Rugby World Cup without its key venue

Scrapping of plans for Tokyo’s Olympic Stadium leaves 2019 Rugby World Cup without its key venue
July 18, 2015

Facing fast spiralling costs for the construction of Tokyo’s new Olympic Stadium,Japanese Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe has announced that the controversial design will be scrapped and started again from scratch.

However, the decision means the venue will not be completed for the 2019 Rugby World Cup leaving governing body World Rugby to express “extreme disappointment” at the decision – and calling for urgent talks with the local World Cup organising committee

The new Stadium, designed by Iraqi-British architect Zaha Hadid, had been due to host the opening match and the final of the 2019 tournament.

However, amid growing public concern about the cost of the new stadium, with costs rising to more than 252 billion yen (US$2 billion), Prime Minister Abe confirmed to reporters after a meeting with Yoshiro Mori, Chairman of the Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee that “we have decided to go back to the start on the Tokyo Olympics-Paralympics stadium plan, and start over from zero.”

Prime Minister Abe said he had obtained the consent of Mori, a former prime minister, and instructed the sports and Olympics ministers to start preparing immediately a process to choose a new plan.

World Rugby hit out at the decision, with a spokesperson stating “World Rugby is extremely disappointed by today’s announcement that the new National Stadium will not be ready to host Rugby World Cup 2019 matches despite repeated assurances to the contrary from the Japan Rugby 2019 Organising Committee and the Japan Sports Council.”

With the National Stadium having been an  important part of Japan’s successful bid to host Rugby World Cup 2019, which was awarded to the Japan Rugby Football Union (JRFU) in 2009, World Rugby is urgently seeking further detailed clarification from the Japan Rugby 2019 Organising Committee on the matter and is considering a range of options following the  announcement.

Commenting on the decision, Zaha Hadid Architects Project Director Jim Heverin stated “our teams in Japan and the UK have been working hard with the Japan Sports Council to design a new National Stadium that would be ready to host the Rugby World Cup in 2019, the Tokyo 2020 Games and meet the need for a new home for Japanese sport for the next 50 to 100 years.

“It is absolutely right that the benefits and costs of the new National Stadium should be clearly and accurately communicated and understood by the public and decision-makers in Japan and we hope that this is one of the objectives of the review announced by the Prime Minister.

“We have used our experience on major sports and cultural projects, including the hugely successful London 2012 Games and legacy, to design a stadium that can be built cost-effectively and still deliver the flexible and robust National Stadium that the Japan Sports Council requires.

“It is not the case that the recently reported cost increases are due to the design, which uses standard materials and techniques well within the capability of Japanese contractors and meets the budget set by the Japan Sports Council.

“The real challenge for the stadium has been agreeing an acceptable construction cost against the backdrop of steep annual increases in construction costs in Tokyo and a fixed deadline.”

Hadid, best known in the UK for the London 2012 Aquatics Centre, won the design contest for the Tokyo stadium in 2012, but faced a barrage of criticism over its appearance.

Amid growing international scrutiny of the costs and benefits of hosting n Olympic Games – something that recently elected International Olympic Committee President, Thomas Bach, has promised to focus on – and domestic public pressure, Prime Minister Mori will now be forced to look for a more cost-effective solution.

21st May 2015 - COST CUTTING TO SEE NEW TOKYO OLYMPIC STADIUM LOSE ITS ROOF

3rd March 2015 - 12 JAPANESE VENUES TO HOST 2019 RUGBY WORLD CUP FIXTURES

21st January 2015 - JAPAN TO EXPORT NEW NATIONAL STADIUM’S TECHNOLOGICAL ADVANCES

19th November 2014 - IOC LOOKS TO FUTURE OLYMPIC GAMES CO-HOSTING UNDER AGENDA 2020 REFORMS 

15th August 2014 - JAPAN READY TO HOST 2022 FIFA WORLD CUP IF EVENT STRIPPED FROM QATAR 

29th May 2014 - JAPAN SPORT COUNCIL GIVES GO AHEAD FOR TOKYO’S OLYMPIC STADIUM


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