SARFU on 2011 World Cup Bid: briefing

Sports, Arts and Culture

19 January 2005
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SPORT AND RECREATION PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE

SPORT AND RECREATION PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE
19 January 2005
SARFU ON 2011 WORLD CUP BID: BRIEFING


Chairperson: Mr B Komphela (ANC)

Relevant document
SARFU presentation on 2011 Rugby World Cup Bid

SUMMARY
The presentation by the 2011 Rugby World Cup Bid Committee outlined rugby success at league level, South Africa’s capacity to host the 2011 Rugby World Cup, its bidding rivals, the Committee’s campaign strategy and business plan and the requirements that the hosting of the 2011 Rugby World Cup would place on the South African government. During the discussion Members sought clarity on whether the South African Rugby Federated Union or the International Rugby Board would own the bid when it was successful, whether the Bid Committee planned to host games in the outer rural areas where the majority of South African citizens still reside, SARFU was encouraged to ensure that rugby, especially club rugby, was fully transformed and popularised amongst previously disadvantaged communities. Clarity was sought on the Bid Committee’s lobbying strategy and whether the Committee was convinced that South Africa could match Japan’s bid. SARFU was asked to explain the benefits that the hosting of the 2011 Rugby World Cup would have for the rest of Africa.

MINUTES
Introduction by Chairperson
The Chair stated that the issues regarding racism and discord within South African rugby that were raised recently in the media would not be discussed during this meeting, as we sole purpose of the meeting was to focus on the 2011 bid.

Presentation by South African Rugby Football Union
Mr B Van Rooyen, SARFU President, conducted the portion of the presentation (document attached) which outlined the success at league level of South African rugby.

Mr Francois Pienaar, CEO: Rugby World Cup 2011 Bid Committee, conducted the portion of the presentation that dealt with South Africa’s capacity to host the 2011 Rugby World Cup, South Africa’s rivals in hosting the 2011 Rugby World Cup as well as the 2011 Rugby World Cup Bid Committee’s campaign strategy and its business plan.

Mr Mthobi Tyamzashe, Chairperson: Rugby World Cup 2011 Bid Committee, conducted the portion of the presentation that dealt with the advantages of bidding for the 2011 Rugby World Cup, exploding the myths regarding South African rugby and the requirements that the hosting of the 2011 Rugby World Cup would place on the South African government.

Discussion
Mr C Frolick (ANC) sought clarity on who would own the bid when it was successful.

Mr Van Rooyen replied that the International Rugby Board (IRB) would own the bid, and South Africa would host it on their behalf.

Mr Frolick asked the presenters to indicate the possible centres where most of the games would be played. It appeared that most of the games were played in the well developed and well populated areas, whereas very little was located in the outer rural areas where the majority of the South African citizens still reside.

Mr Van Rooyen responded that the IRB inspection team would be arriving in South Africa in June 2005. SARFU was mindful of the fact that rugby’s traditional venues were Newlands, Bloemfontein, Durban, Johannesburg and Pretoria. There will definitely be an upgrading of stadia in the rural areas with the Soccer World Cup bid for 2010, and SARFU intends using those stadia for the 2011 Rugby World Cup.

Mr Frolick the South African Rugby Union must continue to transform the game so that South Africa has thousands of players of colour ready for selection.

Mr D Dikgacwi (ANC) encouraged SARFU to ensure that club rugby was fully transformed.

Mr Van Rooyen replied to these two questions by stating that he agreed fully. He stated that almost a year ago SARFU addressed the Committee on the future of South African rugby and transformation was key on the agenda. Transformation is continuing to the extent that in 2004 SARFU has made the biggest leap regarding transformation than in the past eleven years since unification, and this was done in the absence of a formal transformation charter. A transformation charter must look at all aspects of the game in South Africa, including schools and clubs.

He stated that SARFU would be the first to admit that, since the 1995 Rugby World Cup, San rugby has taken ten steps backwards. SARFU continued the commitment it made to this Committee last year to ensure a fully representative team by the time of the 2011 Rugby World Cup.

Club rugby would have to be fully transformed as it was a legacy that was built up over 200 years, and schools level rugby would also have to be addressed in consultation with the Department of Education and the Department of Sport and Recreation.

Ms D Morobi (ANC) stated that rugby needed to be popularised in South Africa, especially among the previously disadvantaged communities. She asked whether opportunities would be given to schoolchildren in all the nine provinces.

Mr Van Rooyen responded that rugby would be popularised by working very closely with the soccer institutions.

Mr T Louw (ANC) sought clarity on the 2011 Rugby World Cup Bid Committee’s lobbying strategy, as it would have to bid against an economically stable country such as Japan. He asked whether SARFU had the relevant muscle and capacity to meet the timeframe set. Perhaps the 2011 Rugby World Cup should go to a nation such as Japan to grow the game.

Mr Pienaar replied that the Japanese have participated in Rugby World Cups in the past, and in the 15 games they have participated in they have won 1. Scotland recently toured Japan and beat them by over 100 points, and the Scottish coach actually said that they were an embarrassment to rugby. It was thus questionable whether rugby would actually improve in Japan if it was awarded the 2011 Rugby World Cup, and this decision would be made by the IRB. SARFU must however focus on the growth of the game in Africa.

He agreed that it would have been ideal for the South African government to have supported the 2011 Rugby World Cup Bid a while ago because there were opportunities. An amalgamated lobbying plan has been formulated, which entailed two lobbying trips. The first would commence in March 2005 and IRB members will be targeted, and the second would take place in June 2005. Additional lobbying trips would be conducted where necessary. SARFU considered it futile to engage in lobbying trips before the support of the South African government was secured. Once this support was secured the 2011 Rugby World Cup Bid Committee would then make available to the media the lobbying strategy, intricacies of the tender document and the Bid Book.

Mr Van Rooyen added that the process for choosing the host country in the Rugby World Cup was different to the manner in which soccer operated. The IRB consisted of 8 foundation members who would vote at the council meeting to decide who was awarded the 2011 Rugby World Cup Bid.

He stated that South Africa was as economically stable as Japan, and South Africa was well capable of hosting a Rugby World Cup.

Mr Frolick asked the 2011 Rugby World Cup Bid Committee to indicate the benefits of hosting the 2011 Rugby World Cup to the rest of Africa. He noted that the Kenyan team did very well at the recent International Rugby Sevens tournament.

Mr Pienaar stated that he was impressed by the way in which the Kenyan team has been playing over the last few years. He stated that he believed there was tremendous potential to grow the game in Africa, and an investment should also be made in the islands where there was an appetite for the game. The experience learnt from other countries should also be considered, such as whether soccer actually grew in America after it hosted the 1994 FIFA World Cup.

He stated that SARFU was thus confident that a very strong case could be put forward to the IRB to host the 2011 Rugby World Cup, and South Africa would suggest to them that a Pan African competition would be established to grow the game in Africa.

Mr Van Rooyen added that SARFU would be seeking the co-operation of the Confederation of South African Rugby, which was now a full member of the IRB. The tender document supplied by the IRB disallowed co-hosting of the 2011 Rugby World Cup, because the co-hosting of the 2003 Rugby World Cup between Australia and New Zealand created major problems when New Zealand had to withdraw. Argentina, which was only a 7 hour flight from South Africa, has requested the South Africa include them in its bid.

He stated that SARFU would be putting a few things on the table for the IRB particularly within the African continent. The Confederation of African Rugby has grown from 5 members in 1995 to 35 members in 2004, and South Africa plays a fundamental role. Cross-border competitions were also being considered, so that African countries could play rugby in South Africa as well.

Concluding remarks
The Chair stated that all efforts, both by SARFU and the South African government, should be focused on unifying the people of South Africa and Africa as a whole. Secondly, at this advanced stage of our democracy people were still being denied access to rugby facilities. The public were being denied access to private stadia, even though public funds were used to upgrade them. Thirdly, South African rugby must become properly representative of the South African people.

Mr Van Rooyen thanked the Committee for the opportunity to present the 2011 Rugby World Cup Bid.

The meeting was adjourned.

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