Italy scraps bid to host 2023 Rugby World Cup

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Italy's rugby team at the Six Nations earlier this year. Photo: AFP
10:07 CEST+02:00
Italian rugby bosses on Wednesday announced they had pulled their bid to host the 2023 World Cup following Rome's decision not to bid for the 2024 Olympics.

Rome mayor Virginia Raggi last week ended the Italian Olympic Committee's (CONI) bid to stage the 2024 Games.

That decision is expected to be confirmed by a city council vote on Thursday, but it has already had a trickle-down effect.

After discussions with CONI president Giovanni Malago and government officials, Italian rugby federation (FIR) president Alfredo Gavazzi said: "Our candidature has always been strictly connected to the Olympic Games bid for Rome 2024 and, as agreed with the government and the Olympic Committee, we are unable to provide necessary commitments for us to move forward," said Gavazzi.

It leaves France, South Africa and Ireland in the running to host the 2023 tournament, with Japan hosting the next World Cup in 2019.

"We remain convinced of the strength of our bid and are well aware of the benefits that hosting the Rugby World Cup would have brought to Italy," added Gavazzi.

"We're conscious about losing a fantastic chance to promote our values and our sport in our country, but we must sadly accept that today we can no longer move forward with our bid.

"I'd like to thank the Olympic Committee President Giovanni Malago, who has supported our bid right from the start.

"We know he's disappointed, as we are, for losing such a great chance. I'd also like to thank the venues and the municipalities who showed great interest in being part of the bid."

Malago said on Friday that a new summer Games bid was unlikely for two decades after Raggi said 'No' to the city hosting in 2024.

"Anything can happen, but it seems improbable to me that there can be another bid for the Olympic Games in the next 20 years," Malago told the Corriere dello Sport newspaper on Friday on the sidelines of a CONI meeting in Cagliari.

The Italian capital was vying with Paris, Los Angeles and Budapest to host the Games in eight years time.

Earlier on Wednesday, International Olympic Committee (IOC) president Thomas Bach insisted it wasn't his place to interfere in Rome's Games decision making process.

"The candidacy phase is a competition and the IOC must remain neutral," he told AFP from Lausanne.

That's why we should not comment. It's not for the IOC to meddle in the internal affaires of a candidate."

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