World Rugby CEO Brett Gosper says it’s highly likely that the policy of the board recommending a host in future World Cup bidding processes will be scrapped.
On 31 October, the World Rugby board’s independent evaluation committee rated South Africa’s bid to host the 2023 tournament as the best.
While the board had hoped for the council to rubber-stamp that decision, the council instead voted for France. After Ireland was eliminated in the first round of voting, France received 24 votes in the second round and South Africa 15.
In an interview with the Telegraph, Gosper revealed that World Rugby chairman Bill Beaumont and vice-chairman Agustin Pichot had ‘not been happy’ to inherit the policy of the board recommending a nomination when they were elected in 2016 and had already looked at changing it.
‘It has been by far the best system ever run but unfortunately it has been a little bit overshadowed by the contradiction, or the perceived contradiction, by the Rugby World Cup board – which looks at it in terms of the execution of the tournament – and the council which looks at it in terms of the interests of the unions they are representing,’ said Gosper. ‘So that will be part of the review and I would be surprised if we move to a recommendation again.
‘I know we have been criticised a few times for having a secret ballot. We took specific advice on that and there are two sides to the coin. You can argue both ways but on balance the advice the secret ballot allows people to vote the right way rather than being pressured.
‘If the fors and against were equal, from a perception point of view an open vote sounds transparent and maybe we should consider that.’
Photo: Dave Rogers/Getty Images