Cape Town - SA Rugby on Thursday thanked the government and the Minister of Sport and Recreation, Thulas Nxesi, for their support in providing the required financial guarantees to bring the Rugby World Cup tournament back home in 2023.
The cabinet approved a request for guarantees to the value of R2.7 billion, which was required from World Rugby, as a prerequisite in hosting the showpiece rugby spectacle.
“We could not take this journey alone and we’re delighted to take hands with Government as we bid to bring the Rugby World Cup back to South Africa for the first time since 1995,” said Jurie Roux, CEO of SA Rugby.
“They have been supportive of the bid for every step of the process but this is a big moment to share a stand with government on our shared vision. We’re very grateful to Nxesi, the director general, his department and the entire government.
“It would be a marvellous, inspirational nation-building moment to recapture some of the excitement of 1995, but it would also have enormous practical benefits for our country.
“Hosting the Rugby World Cup in 2023 would have a R27 billion direct, indirect and induced economic impact on South Africa; R5.7 billion would flow to low income households; 38 600 temporary or permanent jobs would be sustained and there’d be an estimated R1.4 billion tax benefit to government.”
In a statement, the ministry said: “cabinet has approved the overall proposed package for this tournament which is an economic bid which would minimise the demands on the fiscus as well as stimulate economic activity, employment and empowerment.
“The tournament will contribute to stimulate our economy by supporting government priorities, especially as it relates to preferential procurement and adherence to the Sport Transformation Charter and the sharing of the profits derived. The event will further boost our tourism and hospitality sector.
“A successful bid will be a win-win for sport development, for the economy and for the nation as a whole.”
Roux reiterated that the backing from Government is an important step in the country delivering a compelling bid to host the Rugby World Cup, underlining South Africa’s obsession with the delivering a world-class tournament.
“The final decision on hosting rights will be made on 15 November and we’ve now taken a massive step towards what will hopefully be the beginning of six years of preparation to host the biggest and most spectacular Rugby World Cup yet,” said Roux.
“When it comes to our capacity to host major international sporting events, we can deliver like no-one else on earth. But this bid is about more than what it will mean for South Africa to host the World Cup, but also about what we can do for world rugby.”
Mark Alexander, president of SA Rugby, said that he was convinced that at the fourth time of asking (having Bid for the 2011, 2015 and 2019 tournaments), South Africa had produced on unarguable case: “We believe our bid is technically the strongest of the three, with our world-class venues and training facilities, tourism infrastructure and wonderful climate.
“We will maximise the commercial benefit for World Rugby with a low-cost, high-return event in a country that has the infrastructure and major event experience to turn on a colossal event with 2.9 million match tickets available for the showpiece.”
World Rugby will announce the host nation for the 2023 Rugby World Cup on 15 November, 2017. Also in contention are Ireland and France.