World Rugby can confirm that all four unions involved in the Rugby World Cup 2023 host selection process have submitted their bid application by the required deadline of 1 September.
France, Ireland, Italy and South Africa have submitted their bid questionnaires, outlining detailed responses regarding key criteria for hosting one of the world's biggest, most popular and most successful sporting events.
During the applicant phase, the first phase of the process, interested unions were provided with the criteria for evaluation. The criteria are based on World Rugby's seven priority objectives for RWC 2023 which are:
- Venues and infrastructure commensurate with a top-tier major event
- Comprehensive and enforceable public and private sector guarantees
- A commercially successful event with a fully funded, robust financial model
- Operational excellence through an integrated and experienced delivery team
- A vision that engages and inspires domestic and international audiences and contributes to the growth of rugby at all levels
- An enabling environment of political and financial stability that respects the diversity of Rugby World Cup's global stakeholders
- An environment and climate suited to top-level sport in a geography that allows maximum fan mobility
As part of their submission, the unions are also required to supply World Rugby with an overview of key tournament deliverables such as finance, venues and intended government support.
The applicant submissions will now be evaluated by a World Rugby Technical Review Group. The outcomes of the evaluation will be independently assessed to ensure a fair and consistent approach. Applicants that meet the criteria outlined will move to the candidate phase on 1 November, 2016. The Rugby World Cup 2023 host will be selected in November 2017.
With Rugby World Cup 2015 remembered as biggest and best tournament to date, setting new attendance, viewership, fan-engagement, competition and economic impact records, and Japan 2019 set to inspire new participation in Asia, anticipation is high as to who will win the right to host one of the world's most prestigious sporting events.
World Rugby Chairman Bill Beaumont added: "We are delighted by the strong level of serious interest from unions and governments, which truly underscores the enormous hosting appeal of Rugby World Cup as a low-investment, low-risk, high-return economic, social and sporting driver.
"Great events are built on strong partnerships and this process represents a major milestone in the planning and preparation phase for unions and supporting government agencies who intend to bid for Rugby World Cup 2023. We welcome further dialogue with all parties as the process progresses to the candidate phase and we continue the process to confirm our next host.”