10 November 2017

South Africa: World Rugby's Report On SA Fair

The World Rugby's evaluation report on South Africa's bid was a fair and accurate reflection of the country's ability as well as readiness to host the 2023 Rugby World Cup, says Minister of Sport and Recreation Thulas Nxesi.

Minister Nxesi said the unanimous recommendation of the Rugby World Cup Ltd board in favour of South Africa was entirely deserved.

He was responding to criticisms of South Africa from members of the French and Irish teams, following their relegation to second and third place respectively in terms of their ability to host the tournament.

"The compelling and detailed nature of our bid was recognised by World Rugby and the game's leadership in their unanimous recommendation of South Africa as the best candidate to host Rugby World Cup 2023.

"Since then there has been some commentary from our fellow candidates that in some way the process has been flawed. The suggestion has been made that the value of the Irish and French bids has been under-scored or misunderstood or South Africa's bid inflated," Minister Nxesi said.

He said that the World Rugby has run a rigorous and professional process of unimpeachable integrity.

Minister Nxesi said the attempt to undermine the country's bid in order to win Wednesday's vote in London was not unfamiliar to South Africa.

"Even during the 2010 FIFA World Cup bidding process, our competitors and their fellow detractors had mounted a concerted smear campaign to besmirch and malign South Africa's bid.

"They alleged that our country was grossly ill-prepared to host such a big event. They further declared our country to be the crime capital of the world. They prophesised impending doom and gloom that would befall the tournament, and to tourists and fans coming to our shores," he said.

Minister Nxesi said the perceived issues raised by Ireland and France had been addressed and answered to the satisfaction of World Rugby's experts in the evaluation report.

"We have a long history of major, incident-free mega events and we have developed expertise over many years in our security services to ensure that remains so.

"Our financial guarantee to World Rugby is irrevocable, the Bid team's ticketing plan will ensure minimum capacity of 91% over the tournament with some tickets provided free to communities and others costing as little as R55 for some matches," he said.

The Minister's department is now waiting for the outcome of the secret ballot which was held in London on Wednesday.

"The bid team has done its work; we have proved that South Africa is the best choice to host the Rugby World Cup in 2023," he said.

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