The Rugby Football Union has confirmed its intention to run for hosting the 2031 World Cup as part of a long-term vision also designed to ensure that England are consistently in the top two in the table, as has highlighted the new president Tom Ilube.
It is understood that the RFU had preliminary talks with the government on hosting the 2031 tournament, having generated nearly £ 230million in revenue from hosting the 2015 World Cup despite the humiliating exit from England in the pool. World Rugby’s board is due to vote on the host countries for the 2027 and 2031 tournaments next May, with candidates due to officially submit their bids by January. Australia is the favorite to win the 2027 World Cup, while the United States is also interested in bidding for either edition.
As revealed by the Guardian, the RFU has already had discussions with the other original unions over a joint bid, but it is believed to have been blocked due to the inability to reach consensus at the venue of the final. The RFU has since gone on its own and while World Rugby would need a significant financial guarantee – France’s was £ 150million to secure the 2023 tournament – Ilube revealed the extent of interest in the union with further discussions with government and other partners needed to move the auction forward.
“We would like to bid for that – the 2031 World Cup,” he said. “It would be really exciting to have him here and you can imagine what that would be like and I think that also makes us a priority. So we’ll see what happens, it will be interesting. It’s something we’re really into. interested in discussing and participating in the process. ”
Ilube was appointed in March and began office in August, becoming the first black president of a national sports organization. Hosting the 2031 World Cup would be the culmination of a longer-term plan that would see England tackle what they see as an inability to consistently produce world-class players, as well as to “do a lot more” to improve diversity in sport.
“I’m not sure our system is currently generating these world class players all the time and I think if we are to be in our rightful place England should always be ranked one and two in the world,” he said. he adds. “Year after year after year we should be there and to do that we need this absolutely world class cohort of players and something in the system has to generate them.
“There’s a lot of talk about where we are now and where we need to be over the next six months and into the next year. I hear a little less about what I think rugby should look like by 2030. We need to get as clear as possible about that and then move on to it. The game can be much bigger than it is now in terms of impact and money going into the game. It could be two to three times bigger than it is today.
In April, the RFU set up a Diversity and Inclusion Council, having previously conducted a study of supporters singing Swing Low, Sweet Chariot at matches in England. In May, the word “Saxons” was removed from the A-team name in a further modernization effort, but while Eddie Jones’ team has a strong representation of players from BAME, the union has had a hard time. hard to shake its reputation as an organization overseeing a predominantly white group. , middle class, public school sport.
“There’s this perception in some people’s minds and it doesn’t quite correspond to reality, so there is something about communication that we need to look at over time,” Ilube said, who has had conversations with a number of black players since his appointment.
“They really love the game, they love what the game has done for them. Everyone has different points of view, but people think the game could do more. I see him among the players I spoke to. They say that they themselves enjoyed and loved the game, that they had issues here and there and that they fixed them, but rugby could do a lot more.