Australia baulks at Rugby World Cup fee - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Australia baulks at Rugby World Cup fee

By Darren Walton 20/04/2009 07:04:20 PM Comments (0)

Australia will not host another Rugby Union World Cup for at least another decade due to the game's international governing body demanding a $195 million fee from the host country.

Australia and South Africa have the distinction of being the only two nations to have won two Rugby World Cups, but ARU chief executive John O'Neill on Monday said the exorbitant asking price made it "horrendously difficult" to bid for hosting rights.

"We won't bid for 2015," O'Neill said. "We are still sharpening our pencils around 2019.

"There's a 96 million pound tournament fee guarantee required to be provided by the host union, in addition to paying all the costs of the tournament.

"Ninety six million pounds in today's exchange rate is about $200 million."

Given the current economic climate, O'Neill is still trying to reconcile how the International Rugby Board can expect to announce the 2015 and 2019 tournament hosts on July 28 this year.

"We're not out of the running for 2019 at all but (given) this decision is going to be taken in July this year for an event that is going to happen 10 years out ..." he said.

"If someone's brave enough to give me a prediction on exchange rates, on all the risk factors 10 years out.

"As a board, because we're a public company, our directors are saying `well that's a contingent liability we would have to carry on our balance sheet and a bank isn't going to guarantee it'.

"I'm not sure that the IRB has necessarily appreciated that the world economic recession is ... well, sure they know it is affecting rugby, but it makes it even harder to get your head around a 96 million pound tournament guarantee 10 years out.

"We're working on a bid for 2019, but I've got to say the numbers are horrendously difficult to justify with that level of tournament fee."

O'Neill said with New Zealand staging the 2011 World Cup, it was common sense to expect a northern hemisphere country to host the 2015 edition.

He said if the ARU opts not to bid for the 2019 tournament, "Japan will have our support".

"They're bidding for both, but I tend to think their best chance is 2019," he said.

"France was so hugely successful (in 2007) and the nature of the tournament in New Zealand will not be anywhere near the financial success.

"It will no doubt be a successful tournament but I think it's impossible for New Zealand to produce the same financial result that France did.

"So then it's not too difficult to conclude that it has to go back to the northern hemisphere (in 2015)."

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