Francois Pienaar

It's too close to call

2005-09-27 07:13
For all your bid information visit the official bid site at <a href= class=tenred target=_blank></a>

For all your bid information visit the official bid site at

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Rugby World Cup bid CEO Francois Pienaar writes to News24 in a regular fortnightly column.

The contest for the right to host the IRB Rugby World Cup in 2011 is now approaching the final straight.

In barely six weeks' time, on November 17th in Dublin, the 24 IRB Council members will decide between New Zealand, Japan and South Africa.

Where do we stand?

Nobody knows.

During the past week, we have taken the SA 2011 campaign to England, Canada and Ireland, and we have spoken by telephone to well-placed people in all parts of the world.

"South Africa are edging ahead," said one. Another told me: "New Zealand are in pole position."

"Japan are running strong," a third insisted.

Everyone has their own slant

Everybody has their own slant on the status quo, but there is a general consensus that the race looks too close to call.

If it was a rugby match, you could say we are entering the last 10 minutes of the game with less than a score between the teams.

I remember playing in many matches like that.

As players, we realised the margin between winning and losing would be impossibly thin, so we concentrated on keeping our discipline, getting the basic elements right and seizing our opportunities.

The SA 2011 approach to our current situation is no different.

Our strategy and message remain clear and constant.

Through every presentation to an IRB Council member or to the Executive Board of an IRB member union, through every media interview, through every conversation with a key stakeholder, we take care to emphasise, over and again, the three key elements of our campaign to stage this tournament in 2011.

1. SA2011 will be a guaranteed financial success

Since world rugby derives 95% of its income from the tournament, it is imperative that the numbers add up, and the SA 2011 case fills each of the pots:

the scale of our stadiums and depth of our rugby passion will maximise ticket income; the enthusiasm of South African companies for the game will maximise sponsorship income; the quantity and quality of the suites and corporate hospitality at our major venues will maximise hospitality income; and our position in the same time zone as the dominant European market will maximise income from the sale of television rights.

2. SA2011 will take RWC to the next level

South Africa has secured the right to host the Fifa World Cup in 2010, constructing a world-class platform for hosting major events.

This state-of-the-art infrastructure of venues, hotels, transport networks, IT systems, legislation, marketing plans, security provisions, management skills and volunteers will be created for FIFA in 2010, and then perfected and primed for 2011.

In many ways, in every way, the momentum generated in 2010 will raise RWC to the next level in 2011.

3. SA2011 will measurably grow the game worldwide

The paramount goal of 'growing the game' must be more than an easy notion or a faint wish.

It must be a cast-iron strategy, built on action and measured in deeds.

SA 2011 has already started to grow the game through Africa, with the creation of the new African Leopards continental team, and, as an LOC, SA Rugby will establish the African Rugby Academy and run pan-African TV campaigns extolling the game.

In addition, the game of rugby union will be sold across the globe by the thrilling television images of the 2011 IRB Rugby World Cup in South Africa: fast, attractive rugby being played under sunny skies in full, modern stadiums.

Here, in living rooms from Cairo to Kiev, from Montevideo to Mumbai, rugby will be shown in it's very finest light.

This is the core of our case, and we're sticking to it, all the way to Dublin on November 17th.

We firmly believe South Africa offers world rugby a uniquely fantastic opportunity in 2011, and we desperately hope this opportunity will be seized.

  • Francois Pienaar is the Rugby World Cup bid CEO, visit the official bid site at .

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