US group to study possible bid for Rugby World Cup


Los Angeles (AFP)

A collection of US rugby stakeholders will study the capabilities of staging a Rugby World Cup in the United States, with USA Rugby planning a February presentation to World Rugby.

The study, revealed Friday by USA Rugby, would be made through the end of 2020 and engage stadiums, sport commissions and city governments with a review of technical requirements, financial considerations and commercial prospects.

"While preliminary, a study of this nature will be very insightful and ensure appropriate due diligence is performed at every stage of the process," USA Rugby chief executive Ross Young said.

"This group of stakeholders have the best interest of the American game in mind and this report will offer the opportunity for more productive discussions with World Rugby at the beginning of next year, prior to any decision to continue the bid process."

USA Rugby, which only emerged from bankruptcy on September 1, said it would have no financial obligation to the study and "will carefully analyze future obligations before any decision to proceed further in the bid process."

The study would be presented to the USA Rugby governing board ahead of a February dialogue phase regarding bids with World Rugby, which plans to award the 2027 and 2031 Rugby World Cups at the same time, bids facing a January 2022 deadline. Women's Rugby World Cups in 2025 and 2029 are also up for bids.

The study will evaluate requirements to stage the event as well as the logistics of delivering a competitive bid.

USA Rugby's lead project director for the effort will be Jim Brown, who was part of the US-Mexico-Canada winning bid for the 2026 FIFA World Cup. America is also set to host the 2028 Los Angeles Olympics, meaning sponsorships funds might face less competition for a 2031 effort.

The United States hosted the Rugby World Cup Sevens successfully in San Francisco two years ago, while World Rugby chief executive Brett Gosper told AFP in an 2018 interview he believed an American World Cup was inevitable.

"There is a general belief across the people running the sport that America's time will come, probably sooner rather than later," Gosper said at the time.