France, Ireland, SAfrica confirm bids for 2023 Rugby WCup

CAPE TOWN, South Africa (AP) — France, Ireland and South Africa say they have submitted formal bids to host the 2023 Rugby World Cup.

Final bid papers had to be delivered to World Rugby by Thursday and the winning bid will be announced on Nov. 15.

France hosted in 2007 and put on games at the 1991 and 1999 tournaments.

South Africa last hosted in 1995.

Ireland has never been the sole host but also staged games in 1991 and 1999.

French bidders said they will utilize nine "ultra-modern" stadiums built or renovated for last year's European soccer championship.

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Ireland aims to hold games in the Irish republic and Northern Ireland. The Irish bid team said it secured government commitments required by rugby's governing body amid reports that legislation would need to be rushed through the Irish parliament to guarantee financial backing.

South Africa, which failed in three successive bids to host the 2011, 2015 and 2019 World Cups, would stage the 2023 final at Soccer City in Johannesburg, the showpiece venue for the 2010 soccer World Cup.

All three countries have promised profitable tournaments in an era where the financial repercussions of hosting major sports events have come under scrutiny.

France said its tournament would provide $350 million in revenue for World Rugby.

The successful country would have to pay World Rugby a tournament hosting fee of $150 million.

The last Rugby World Cup in 2015 was hosted in England and Wales, and the event will be in Japan in 2019, possibly establishing South Africa as favorite to host again, 28 years after its '95 tournament.

South Africa's reputation for organizing sports events has been tarnished, though, by being stripped of the 2022 Commonwealth Games. Last year, the government banned South African rugby from bidding for major events. The ban was lifted last month in time for the rugby union to go ahead with its bid.

The three candidates will make presentations to World Rugby in late September ahead of the final decision in November.

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